Don’t wait to read to your kids
Don’t wait until your kids start school to read to them, it will be too late!
We all have an image in our heads of a child sitting on his or her parent’s knee and enjoying a storybook. Many of us grew up experiencing this very thing.
Sadly, less and less parents are reading to their children. This is apparent in falling literacy skills in children aged 8 years and less. The result is many children are not getting to school knowing enough words. Research tell us that 90% of a child’s brain is developed before they get to school. They also tell us that a child should know between 3,500 and 4,500 words by the time they are five years old.
You should be teaching your child to read
Don’t wait for your child’s first teacher to teach him or her to read. It may be far too late by then. In fact, every parent should be teaching their little ones to be familiar with books from day one.
While your baby may not be able to hold a book never mind about read one, it is imperative that you read stories to him or her. When a storyteller – that’s you – begins to weave a tale of magic and intrigue, the listeners’ brainwaves actually fall into sync with the storytellers. This creates a strong, emotional bond and a positive impression which lasts a lifetime.
Regardless of what some experts are telling parents, you can’t teach a child to read the wrong way. They can either read or they can’t. Do you remember Scout in “To Kill a Mockingbird”? Do you remember her distress when she returned from school and told Atticus that the teacher had said she had learned to read wrong?
As an educationalist with twenty years of experience, I am happy to reassure parents of that children can’t learn to read the wrong way. There are techniques and reading skills which a child can learn at school to help them. Your child’s school should provide reading programs which enhance the skills your child has already developed.
Toddlers and books – Don’t wait to read to your kids
Any person who has experienced the cyclonic affect a toddler has inside a room will know that they are not gentle when it comes to handling most things, books included. Hence the introduction of board books.
Leave board books lying around for your toddler to find and explore. Watch how they use them. If your toddler picks up a book upside down, for example, watch to see if he or she turns it over and opens the cover the right way. If they do, then jump up and pat yourself on the back. This means you have been reading to them and possible in front of them. They have watched and learnt from you how a book works, and they want to know more – well done!
If they don’t, they gently show your toddler how to read and handle a book. They may throw it on the floor afterwards, but if you do this every day they will learn and you will be rewarded for your patience.
Reading time should be anytime! – Don’t wait to read to your kids
Don’t always leave the reading and sharing of books to bedtime. Create times during your day to sit and read to your children. Also, make sure they have access to books so they can decide to read when they feel like it.
Create activities around books and their stories. There are recipes on my blog which are easy to make and which are thematically related to children’s stories. There are also many other things you can do once the story has finished which will help your child develop a stronger relationship and contextual understanding of the books they read.
About the author – Susan Day
Susan Day is a children’s author and writer. Her blog, Astro’s Adventures Book Club, is full of ideas and tips for grandparents who want to build a strong relationship with their grandchildren. In particular, Susan specializes in helping grandparents share their love of books with their grandchildren. Susan is currently writing a book titled, The Top 10 Things Happy Grandparents Never Regret Doing!
Susan lives in country Australia with four dogs, three boss cats, three rescue guinea pigs, and an errant kangaroo. And, apart from blogging, writing and reading; she loves drinking coffee, painting and learning to box.