Youngsters remind me of wet cement. Their receptive minds are imprinted daily with the interests and values of their parents.
As the parent of an impressionable child, you can impress him/her with a lifelong affection for books.
Here are two daily strategies:
- Read Everything Aloud. Yup, even your mail, magazine articles, recipes, the bills, street signs, and greeting cards. All 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'll have begun to understand that printed words are meaningful. By age 5, he'll begin to know that not the printed words go from left to right. Most kids will even be identifying 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 your child's vocabulary. You don’t have to be the best reader to impress your child with its importance. It’s your interest in reading that counts.
- Make Fun of Reading Together. Some parents make the mistake of handing their 3 or 4-year-old a book saying, “Go read this.” Hey, instead, snuggle up together to look at magazines and books. Take turns flipping the pages. Listen to your youngster describes the pictures (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 child - at any age - learns books are fun and provide information and pleasure. And we all like to repeat enjoyable activities.