Reading to your child

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    Reading with your toddler:

    • Follow your child’s lead. Allow them to pick the book. Then remember you don’t have to read every page in the book or every word on the page. The important thing is to focus on what is interesting to your toddler while reading.
    • Label the pictures.
    • Ask questions like, “Where is the hippo?” Or for older children ask more open ended questions like, “What do you think will happen next?”
    • Read slowly and pause frequently to see if your child can finish the sentence you are reading.
    • When your child labels a picture incorrectly, for example she says pig for dog, simply say dog and point to the picture again rather than saying, “No, that’s not a pig.” This allows them to learn the correct name for the word with out feeling bad about their language attempt.
    • Read a variety of books! Repetitive books, books about colors, numbers, letters, books about everyday objects, animals, food… whatever you and your child love!
    • Read regularly! Reading regularly gives you an opportunity to focus on new vocabulary, check for comprehension, teach new concepts and most of all bond with your little ones!
    • Make it fun!
    • There is no question that reading with your kids frequently definitely has a positive impact on their language development!

    Reading with your preschooler:

    • Read early and read often. The early years are critical to developing a lifelong love of reading. It's never too early to begin reading to your child! The tips below offer some fun ways you can help your child become a happy and confident reader. Try a new tip each week. See what works best for your child.
    • Read together every day
    • Read to your child every day. Make this a warm and loving time when the two of you can cuddle close.

    Give everything a name

    • Build your child's vocabulary by talking about interesting words and objects. For example, "Look at that airplane! Those are the wings of the plane. Why do you think they are called wings?"

    Say how much you enjoy reading

    • Tell your child how much you enjoy reading with him or her. Talk about "story time" as the favorite part of your day.

    Read with fun in your voice

    • Read to your child with humor and expression.
    • Use different voices.
    • Ham it up!

    Know when to stop

    • Put the book away for awhile if your child loses interest or is having trouble paying attention.

    Be interactive

    • Discuss what's happening in the book.
    • Point out things on the page.
    • Ask questions.

    Read it again and again

    • Go ahead and read your child's favorite book for the 100th time!

    Talk about writing, too

    • Mention to your child how we read from left to right and how words are separated by spaces.

    Point out print everywhere

    • Talk about the written words you see in the world around you.
    • Ask your child to find a new word on each outing.

    Reading with school age children

    To help children learn to read, you can show them many kinds of reading materials, such as books, newspapers, comics and magazines. Let them hear you read aloud. Encourage them to repeat what you read.

    Reading with your child takes no special talent. It just takes loving your child, enjoying your activity together, and being committed to finding the time to do it.

    • It's important for you and your child to continue reading together even after he or she begins learning to read in school. This helps build your child's good feelings about reading.
    • Encourage your child to continue to read aloud. It could be to you, a brother or sister, or a neighbor. Some children will stumble or skip over a word. You can fill it in so they don't feel overwhelmed. Ignore little mistakes. Do all you can to help the story flow.
    • Check with your child's teacher or a librarian to find books that are the right reading level.
    • When your child likes a book, look for others by the same author or artist. Notice your child's interests – rocks, dolls, dinosaurs or baseball cards. Try to find books, plays, comic or magazines on these favorite topics.
    • Stop by the library often. Be sure that members of your family have library cards. You might enroll your child in a summer reading club. Let your child see you borrowing and reading books, magazines and newspapers.
    • If you both go to a museum, the beach or on vacation, read magazines, pamphlets, maps or books together about these places before and after your trip.
    • Most children, when they become good silent readers, will let you know when they prefer to read by themselves. Yet many will still enjoy that special shared time with you.