As parents, you want to do what is best for your kids. You want them to grow to be happy, healthy and successful adults. One way to ensure they get a great start in life is encouraging literacy from an early age. By definition, Early Literacy is the reading, writing, listening and speaking that is done before a child actually learns to read and write on their own. Early Literacy skills are typically developed in children from when they are born to age six. Our Baby Basics program enjoyed having a representative from the public library in to share with mamas the benefits of early literacy…
Why should we read to our children? Reading to your little one, even as early as when they are in utero, brings comfort and security to your child through the sound of your voice. You help to develop spoken and understood vocabulary, as well as develop memory for story detail and sequencing. While these abilities won't show themselves in an infant, they are crucial to later development. Reading to your child/baby helps them to understand that words have meaning, develops emotional maturity and imagination, and establishes good feelings about books and reading. But best of all, it's fun and great for child-parent bonding! Here are some helpful points for reading to your little one(s)…
1. Consider age, development, and interests of your child. Read books that are appropriate for them at whatever stage of life they are in, and keep it fun!
2. Use voices for different charachters, if you like. This keeps the books interesting and always changing. It also stimulates imagination and can keep the book non-repetive for the favorite book in the house that your little one wants read over and over.
3. Keep reading an enjoyable experience, a skill your child will want to aquire.
4. Try to read often, and let your child choose a book to read.
5. Keep books that are age appropriate in reach of little hands. Put away the books you don't want touched without adult supervision, and let them play with the book of choice.
6. If your baby tries to chew or close the book when reading, let them have their own book to play and hold while you read the story.
7. Set up a special place in your home for reading
8. Read often to your child! It's as simple as pointing out and reading signs when driving or walking!
9. Set an example, read yourself! And don't forget to let daddy read… Kids need to see a good male role model for reading.
10. Get a library card! Most libraries have free cards for babies and young children. Enjoy going to the library as a family, or spend winter and rainy days there. Libraries also have some amazing programs for children and babies that you can utilize.
Can't wait to get started? Here is a poem you can share about reading!
TWENTY MINUTES A DAY
Read to your children, twenty minutes a day;
You have the time, and so do they.
Read while the laundry is in the machine;
Read while the dinner cooks;
Tuck a child in the crook of your arm, and reach for the library books.
Hide the remote, let the computer games cool,
For one day your children will be off to school;
"Remedial?" "Gifted?" You have the choice;
Let them hear their first tales in the sound of your voice.
Read in the morning, read over noon;
Read by the light of Good Night, Moon
Turning the pages together, sitting close as you'll fit…
'Til a small voice beside you says "hey, don't quit."