Note: This post was written by Carole Richards.
Most people would agree that being literate is essential to a successful life.
How can you help your child become literate? Read to your child often and from a very early age. Reading to a child is a special magical time. It brings closeness, warmth, love and happiness to both the child and reader.
Read Together as a Family. Once I watched a family with teenagers reading aloud the latest Harry Potter book in a local coffee shop. Each family member took a turn reading and you could tell they were really engaged.
Why Read to your Child? Reading develops listening skills, critical thinking skills and vocabulary. The more complex the book, the larger the vocabulary your child will develop.
Reading should become a family ritual, especially at bedtime. It sets the child’s mood for warmth, calmness and love. When my children were ill in the middle of the night, I would read to them. They remained calm and returned to sleep more quickly.
My kids would never sit still for a story. Let your active child pace, move, even do cartwheels. When it comes to the pictures, show them to the child. Just because your child is in constant motion doesn’t mean they aren’t listening. Attention Deficit — Hyperactive children require movement to stimulate the brain so they are able to listen and focus. So let you child move around and read anyway.
My child has a learning disability. Just because they can’t read well, doesn’t mean they can’t learn by listening. You are building important skills as your child’s reading skills improve. And if the child with poor reading skills is forced to do all the reading, they begin to dislike the activity. If you keep reading, they will enjoy it more.
I Can’t Afford to Buy A Lot of Books. Ask grandma and grandpa, or an aunt or uncle to buy your child books instead of another toy. There is also the library where your child can select their own books of interest by age three.
So, here’s hoping you read to your child every day, at any age, and with great delight.