Friday, January 30, 2009

Have a Toddler? READ, READ, READ Aloud…Then Read Aloud Some More

I enjoyed reading to my children and I really enjoy reading to my grandchildren. In my day (Ouch, I never thought I would say those words!) reading was fun. It was what we did with small children. We had no electronic distractions, no large shopping malls, and our favorite outing was an afternoon at the library. I never worried about “reading readiness”, probably because I don’t recall ever hearing that term until I entered college to become a teacher.

Today I am known in my family as the grandmother who always has time for one more book. I love that distinction. In fact, my ten grandchildren were the inspiration behind - and my reason for writing - my books, The Knot Fairy and The Sock Fairy.

So if you have a toddler, and if you are wondering about reading readiness, these buzz words may have you in a tizzy. Many parents worry that they are not doing enough to make sure their child is ready for school. While educational experts agree that preschool-aged children benefit greatly from participating in reading readiness activities, these activities should be enjoyable – both to the parent and the child. Don’t stress and don’t think your child needs to be reading novels by age 3. (Even if your neighbor is insisting that her 3-year old is halfway through Harry Potter.) Readiness is just that – helping your child to become ready to read. There are many easy ways that you can provide opportunities that will help encourage a book-positive attitude in your child. Here are a few easy, no-stress ways to do this:

· Start reading to children before they can talk. This is so important to language development.
· Read to your children every day and they will be more likely to want to read.
· Read in front of your children so they will know that reading is a part of your routine.
· Read alphabet books to them and help them identify the sounds of letters and words.
· Make a special place in your home for children to keep their own books.
· Encourage toddlers to hold the books and turn the pages themselves, teaching them at an early age how to care for books and to be gentle with things of value.
· Choose books that have bright colors, shapes, and lots of new vocabulary words.
· Read lots of rhyming books to toddlers. Rhymes are easy for children to memorize and repeat, allowing children to pretend they are actually reading.
· When you come to a new word, have the child repeat it with you.
· Help your child memorize nursery rhymes. Repeat them over and over together, enjoying the rhythm and the rhyming patterns.
· Read a page, then cover one of the pictures on that page and encourage the child to identify the missing item.
· Work on pre-reading skills by having early readers “read” the book to you by “reading” the pictures.
· Make an afternoon at the library an enjoyable outing. Bring home lots of books.
· Most important of all – Smile and enjoy your time with your precious toddler. They grow so fast.


Morgan Mandel said...

I don't remember my parents reading to us when we were children, but they must have. My brothers and I all love to read.

Morgan Mandel

Cat Connor said...

I love the idea of the fairy books - our kids have been blessed (?) with wild frizzy Celtic curls, as soon as the brush leaves the hair it knots again. We've been blaming the knot fairy for years!
Don't get me started on the other fairies and their contributions to daily life. :)

As for reading to kids, I can't imagine not doing that. My lot love to read.

Helen said...

Both my kids, now grown, love to read. We always had books and we not only read to them, we read ourselves.

This was a great post.

Helen Ginger

L. Diane Wolfe said...

My mother read to me from the very beginning and I was talking and pointing to pictures in books by the time I was one and a half.

And I remember you! We were both at the Book 'Em Festival in Waynesboro last October!

L. Diane Wolfe

Anonymous said...

I'm so grateful to my parents for reading to me when I was little. It instilled in me my great LOVE affair with books!

I like your fairy stories idea. They look really fun.