Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Permanent Impressions Begin Today

Preschoolers remind me of wet cement. Their receptive minds are imprinted with the interests and values of their parents. As the parent of a 3 or 4 year old, you have a hand in impressing your child with a lifelong affection for books. Here are two daily strategies:

Read Everything Aloud.  Your mail, magazine articles, recipes, the bills, street signs, and greeting cards make for teaching moments.  As your child hears you read he becomes aware that print has a purpose.  Since he wants to imitate you, his favorite person, he wants to be able to read.  By your example, at 4 he will “have begun to understand that printed words have meaning. By age 5, most will begin to know that not just the story, but also the printed words themselves go from left to right.  Many will even be identifying some capital and small letters and simple words.”
Reading is a significant part of language development.  Each time you read aloud, you might introduce new words and that enlarges his vocabulary.  You don’t have to be the best reader to impress your child with its importance.  It’s your interest in the printed matter that counts.

Make Fun of Reading Together.  Some parents make the mistake of handing their 3 or 4 year old a book with, “Go read this.”  Instead, snuggle up together to look at magazines and books.  Take turns flipping the pages.  Listen to your preschooler describe the pictures as this exercises his language skills.  As you read, point to letters, words, and pictures. Be willing to stop and give or receive comments. The goal is to delight in the process – not to race to the end.  When you make reading fun, your young one learns books are for information and enjoyment.  And we all like to repeat enjoyable activities.

 Hey, here are 3 good read aloud titles for parents and preschoolers:
1) Goodnight Moon, Margaret Wise Brown
2) The Runaway Bunny, Margaret Wise Brown
3) You are Special, Max Lucado Books
And here are 2 books outlining 3 - 4 y/o characteristics:
1) Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5, Steven P. Shelov.
2) The Birth to Five Book: Confident Childrearing Right from the Start, Brenda Nixon. Order signed copies with your email request to speaker2parents(@)juno.com

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