Developing a Love for Books and Reading
Developing a Love for Books and Reading
I can't think of a thing I love better than reading to my children. Even before they were born, I would read to them. Now, they simply devour the time we spend snuggled up with an exciting book! Although two of them can read fairly well, they still love it when I read to them. Secretly, I have known all along that reading to them and letting them see others with a book in hand, was a huge key in helping to develop their love of reading.
Reading to children before they are born can't hurt at all. Certainly, as soon as an infant has developed the ability to hold an object, they should be given soft, waterproof picture books. At this age, an infant's eye-sight is still developing and therefore, bright colors and patterns should be selected in a book. The book doesn't have to have words but should have large, easy to recognize objects, such as a ball, bottle, blocks, etc. Name the objects in the book as the baby flips through. It may be necessary to hold the book and flip through yourself as you name the objects. However, just to give the infant a feel for the book is important. Whatever you do, make it fun!
Around one to two years of age, babies are becoming more mobile and are eager to explore. Picture board books are a great choice at this age. Choose and read books related to daily activities such as dressing, eating and playing. Make books accessible in an appropriate area so that children don't have to climb. Let them see you grab a book off the bookshelf, flip through and read it as you are completing a daily activity and then put the book away. Soon, you will find that they will mimic this very routine! At this age, children love simple and colorful books of animals, children playing, rhymes and riddles, and interactive-type books that pop up or have slide-outs.
Three and four-year olds are beginning to gain more coordination. Drawing, coloring and simply making marks on a page are important in learning to read. J. Richard Gentry, Ph.D and author of Raising Confident Readers, states "Drawing and pretend writing help your child grasp the complex process of reading." Therefore, it's vital to provide colorful paper and crayons. As you read a story to your child, ask them to draw of picture about the story. You might even be creative and make up your own story. At this age, choose books that are simple in text and are easy to memorize as your child begins to link pictures to words. Again, relate book content to milestones that your child will be going through at this age.
By ages five to six, your child may be able to recognize a few words or may be in the beginning process of sounding out words. You may be reading chapter books to your child and that's great, but be sure to choose some books with simple titles and rhyming words for your child to flip through and attempt to read. There should be no more than five unfamiliar words on each page. Save the longer books for story time together, but choose those with recurring characters such as The Magic Playhouse or Amelia Bedelia. Most of all, let your child dictate what he or she likes. Maintaining interest is one of the best ways to develop a love for reading.
Not long after the age of six, (and sometimes before this age) you'll begin teaching your child with a more intense learning regimen. All along, you've probably been using phonics as you've read to your child and slowly prounounced words. Depending on your child's learning style, it is sometimes very beneficial to use a online phonics program. This type of program is typically very "attention getting" and children tend to soak in what they see and hear. Children learn the keyboard very early in life and they can often interact with an online phonics and reading program long before they can write their name well.
I've said it forever, as have many other successful teachers. EXPOSURE is the key! Children learn what they see and hear. They live what they learn. In the process of teaching your children to love books and reading, you'll also be fostering a sense of accomplishment and importance. They'll never forget the time you spend snuggling and reading with them!