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One of the most precious gifts you can give to your child is to read with them each night. This wonderful experience should start right from when your child is a new-born and it should continue long after they become an independent reader. Make sure to select a comfortable place to read with them. It is a perfect time to cuddle together as you share the adventures of the stories you read. Early reading also promotes the acquisition of language and literacy conventions. It will also help your child to develop their comprehension and critical thinking skills. There have been many independent studies over the years that show that early reading with children helps them to learn to speak, learn about words and language, listen to the sounds of words, gain general knowledge about a wide variety of topics, build their vocabulary and read early themselves.
This special time should never be seen as a chore or “homework”. It is a way to demonstrate to your child that reading is a pleasurable experience and something that you truly value and enjoy doing. Children will come to love this time and associate reading with not only pleasure but also knowledge. It is also important that your child has some ownership of this procedure. Make sure you let them select the books and if possible let them hold it and turn the pages. All these little things help prepare your child for the joys of reading.
Here are some tips for reading with your child:
- Choose books that your child might like. Remember this is their reading time not yours!
- Read books that have patterns, are repetitive and have predictable words and rhymes.
- Make sure you introduce the book. Talk about the title, the front cover and the illustrations. You could also make some prediction about what might happen.
- Run your finger under the words while you read. This will help them understand the relationship between the written words and what they hear.
- If you are reading a picture book, make sure your child looks and talks about the pictures on each page. This helps with comprehension and the story.
- Ensure you repeat or talk about interesting words to help build vocabulary. Encourage them to use those words and share their knowledge with others.
- Talk about the story during and after your finish reading.
- If you are reading a repetitive book invite your child to make predictions or join you reading.
- Answer your child’s questions about the book or the words on the pages.
- Make sure you keep it fun!
Enjoy your reading time!