Reading to Your Child
One of the most important skills parents teach children is how to communicate - how to speak, listen, and to read. By reading aloud to your children you are teaching them all of these skills. Reading to young children also expands their vocabulary, improves memory, and allows them to practice listening skills. Read to your child everyday. Read slowly so your child can learn the words. Allow them to turn the pages and point out favorite pictures. Encourage your child to make up their own stories to go along with the pictures. You'll be amazed and amused by their creativity.
Find a cozy spot, with soft light and few distractions, for reading.
Read with expression. Use your voice to make the story come alive.
Preschoolers thrive on predictability. Reread favorite books again and again. Books with catchy refrains and repeatable phrases are especially popular with this age group.
Expose your child to a variety of reading materials. Include nonfiction books, wordless picture books, and magazines in your read-aloud repertoire.
If you and your child don't enjoy a book, there's no need to finish it. Set it aside and try something else.
Feel free to adapt a story to suit your needs. Shorten or summarize long descriptive passages if your child's attention flags.
Allow time for your child to absorb the words and pictures and to ask questions about the story.
If your child has trouble sitting still to listen to a story, she may prefer to draw or play quietly nearby while you read to her.
Take turns "reading" with your child. Long before she learns to read print, your child can tell you a story based on the pictures she sees.
Make regular visits to the public library so your child can check out books. Once she learns to print her name, she may qualify for a card of her own!
From Totline Magazine, November/December 1998