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Will reading to your tot ensure a clear-cut path to Harvard? Probably not. But, it will help to boost her early literacy development. This means that when she’s ready to go to school, she’ll already be ahead.
Even though your little one can’t read on her own in the first few years of life, this time is precious when it comes to skill building. That said, simply reading books at your child isn’t enough. To truly foster a love of, interest in and ability in literacy you’ll need to interact with your child and allow her to experience reading activities.
What Can Reading Do?
If you’re looking for your toddler to read out loud, write her name or point to words and truly sound out the letters, it isn’t likely to happen. Reading during the early years isn’t about teaching your child to read independently.
It’s more about building a solid foundation for future abilities. Early reading experiences and activities can help your child to:
- Develop a life-long love of books.
- Grow her vocabulary.
- Become familiar with the conventions of the printed page and books (such as turning pages).
- Recognize pictures.
- Connect the concept of spoken language with the printed word.
- Set the stage for future literacy learning.
How Can You Help?
Before you crack open a book, take a look at what you’re reading to your child, where you’re reading it and how the whole activity is happening. There are an almost endless array of books that are completely appropriate for babies, toddlers and preschool-aged children.
The key is finding one (or several) that interest and engage your child. Just because a touch-n-feel fluffy animal book makes your first child go gaga, doesn’t mean it will have the same effect on your second baby. You know what your child likes. Use this knowledge to pick and choose books.
Now that you have a book to read, what comes next? The obvious answer is to open it and begin reading. Before this happens, you need to pick a place to sit and read. Make reading part of your everyday routine and choose a comfy chair or create your own home library in a corner of the family room.
Keep the space free from other distractions, turn off the TV and make sure that your child can sit (or you can hold her) in a way so that she is able to look at both you and the book. Take the story off of the page. You don’t have to be an Oscar-worthy actor to make the tale come alive for your child.
Use different voices for the characters and make exaggerated facial expressions. Point to the pictures as you say the words. This helps your child to make connections between the two. As your child gets older you can say the words and ask her to point to the matching picture. Encourage questions or stage a “Q and A” session in which you discuss what’s going on in each picture.
Reading in an engaging and interactive way can help your young child to build true enjoyment when it comes to books. From the place where you read the book to the way in which you do it, every aspect of an early literacy activity can contribute in some way to your child’s development.
And now, we have some fun stuff for you ……..
Win a One-Year Subscription from Groovy Lab in a Box!
We love a GROOVY giveaway – how about you?
Our friends at Groovy Lab in a Box are hosting a sweepstakes where you can win a one-year subscription (valued at more than $287!). All you have to do is type in your email address, and you are entered.
In case you have not heard of Groovy Lab in a Box, it’s a monthly subscription service that teaches STEMists (your children!) all about science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Each month, they send out a themed box filled with investigations that are fun and hands on.
The investigations culminate into an Engineering Design Challenge, where your STEMists must apply what they’ve learned from the investigations (and use their critical thinking skills) to complete the challenge. The boxes contain everything you need to complete all of the activities, including a groovy retro-themed lab notebook.
The box activities are supplemented with their Beyond … in a Box web portal where your children will find videos, interactives and additional activities. Head over to Groovy Lab in a Box’s website to learn more about this great service!
Good luck! We hope you win!