The first time a child proudly reads a word on a page is one of the most exciting moments parent experiences. Books help tremendously is just an understatement. Books have such power. The knowledge we get from books is limitless. Morale, life’s value, productivity, planning, motivation, awareness, positivity, empathy, and the list is endless.
I put my son and daughter in front of books since the day they rolled over their tummies. My older one started reading when he was two years. By four he was reading like a Third grader. My daughter is two years, and she cannot read yet. This should give you a sense that every child is unique and different in their ways. But my daughter loves when we(My husband and me) read aloud. No matter where she is when you read a book she will be right in your lap.
As parents, our most important task is to keep at it. All we did for our son was to make time to read out loud. It has just become a routine over the years. We are doing the same exercise for our daughter. Mission read aloud 2! As a matter of fact, we still read to our older one, and that relaxes him, and he slowly slips into his dreamland.
Parents have to understand that it’s not just mom or dad taking the time to spend with the little ones. It should be an effort from both mom and dad(this does not mean both have to read together). Reading together truly helps in later years. Snuggling and reading and discussing what their day was like is just a great way to bond.
Parents need to realize that, early readers are not born. A love for reading and excitement for stories found in the book is something that is nurtured. Some published studies have confirmed that well-developed early reading or early literacy skills can provide some excellent benefits which include improvement math skills and not to mention the overall success in school.
Studies show that reading daily to young children, starting in infancy can help with language and literacy skills. This means that your baby is acquiring the skills and knowledge needed for reading, long before your child is old enough to begin the school. These Pre-literacy skills include language development, word-sound awareness.
Many parents start on this journey when their kids are young but drop the ball as their little one gets older.So I am going to start with few tips for parents and delve into Best Ways To Raise An Early Reader.
Take Time and Read Aloud
Kids who are read to, “Read.” Reading books aloud exposes your child to language that is different from everyday conversations. Reading aloud stimulates your child’s imagination and senses. Take some time in a day to read with your child. You would be surprised how much 10–20 minutes of your time in a day can indeed make a difference in your child’s life. Reading aloud is the first step towards your child’s reading journey. So make sure you lead the way to reading early, by reading aloud.
Find some quiet time
Finding a time which gives enough time for you and your baby to bond is a very crucial step. “Put those Dam Digital Devices/ Gadgets Away” Imagine as if I am screaming in your ear!!. Parents need to learn that they have to implement certain practices which will help lay a foundation for their little one’s developmental skills. So take some time to detox yourself digitally!!.
When I say discipline I mean, consistency. Once you start reading to your kid try to read consistently and a particular time. This is critical when the child gets into a toddler or a preschool phase. So when your child is a baby, you could try to read and try to set up a routine which will later become your everyday thing.
Enjoy reading yourself.
You are your child’s Hero. Take some time to pick a book you love to read. Do this regularly. Let your child see you making time to read. Children model what they see. It’s not a surprise when I say parents have much bigger influence. Making time for yourself not only gives you a moment to slow down and relax but also sends an important message to your little one who quietly notices you.
Be ready for repetition
Kids love to read the same book over and over again. This helps them to familiarize with words. Once they know the words, they will be able to enjoy it in different ways. Repeated reading helps kids build oral reading fluency. So develop some patience and repeat.
Carry Books whenever and wherever possible
Tuck a storybook or two in a bag or the car. The habit of filling in life’s spaces with books and always having them handy helps a child see them as a regular part of life. I am not kidding when I say even in the bath!. There are some bubble bath books you could get at stores like Target. ” Highlights Hello Magazine” for kids is made of waterproof material, and my daughter takes the magazine into the bathtub sometimes( Beware! kids might think everything can go into a bath tub!).
Phonics and Vocabulary
Phonics is the ability to know which letters make which sounds. One of the best ways to help kids develop their skills is to have them learn the sounds of the alphabets and then read the words based on sounds. Some ways to teach phonics is to use some toys like Leapfrog Fridge Phonics or play a video most specifically about the phonics. You could also have a CD in your car while driving so kids can listen.This will be both fun and learning.
Vocabulary, on the other hand, is the ability to understand what the word means. You can give a definition of the word, or you use the clues in the story to help us determine the meaning. The more words the kids learns, the more the child will understand the story. One of the primary goals of reading is improving the vocabulary. Some of the fun ways to improve vocabulary are to use the Flashcards or toys like Leapfrog Tablet. Flashcards are designed for building your kids vocabulary outside of books. You can also alphabets and form a word and ask them to read it. Another simple way is to write it on a board and read out the word to kids.
Point and spell out the words
Pointing out words will help your child to follow where and what you are reading.You can start doing this once your little one is two years plus(you could do this earlier too depending on the child’s interest and curiosity). Have your child follow along by moving your finger under the words as you read. Sometimes kids memorize words in an image form. Once you start reading and start pointing out the words your next step should be reading the letters that make up the word. So Spell them out. Read each letter.
I keep books accessible for my daughter, and she just pulls out any book of her liking and flips and scans the pages.
Keep books accessible
Keep books within the kids reach. It could be in the living room or on the floor where they usually play. You would notice that they quickly check out the books when they move from one place to other.
Try different books
Encourage your child to read different books, articles or stories. Some kids books like fiction, nonfiction, children’s magazine. Whatever it is we just have to see the pattern. Getting a monthly magazine for your child is another great way to keep up the reading. Magazines provide a lot of variations like finding objects, puzzles, stories, interesting facts and much more. I started Children’s Magazine Highlight’s Hello Magazine subscription since she was seven months(It was not available when my son was three years So the first magazine he got was High Five magazine when he was four years old). Now at two-year-old she quickly opens the magazine as soon as it arrives and just finds a lap to read it aloud to her!. You would see a much delightful face. It’s hers, and she loves it.
My Son gets his magazines too, and he eagerly waits for them every month. Lego Magazine (It’s free), Highlights and High Five.
When you read to your kid make sure to ask questions. Asking questions gives you an opportunity to access their understanding of the story or the book they are reading. Ask your kids which character they like the best or what they think is going to happen next in the story. They should be able to understand and summarize what they are reading. This is the key factor.
We found this issue with our son where he would narrate the whole book but would not be able to summarize in few lines. This was a surprise for us. So we jumped in to help him on how he could sum up a story with some key points and with a start/end statements. Phew! Learning at every stage.
Don’t have too many books
Don’t confuse your kids or yourself by getting too many books or trying to hunt for too many books. When you drop into a library, get a book that interests you and which you might think might interest your child. Repetition is the key initially. Read the same stories over and over again so your child can start making connections between words and pictures. Make sure you have 3–4 books and not more than that. My daughter has too many books because I saved all the books my son read as a toddler or a preschooler. I could see her jumping from one book to the other
I felt it was not doing anything good to her. So I went back to how I started for my son(I had like 3–4 books. We kept reading and added more books which eventually became a mini library). So I packed up all the books and left 3–4 books for my daughter. I am going to introduce new books after three months. This gives my child enough time to look at pictures, turn the pages, look at the letter and even start to read the letter in words.
Writing helps reading
Reading just does not come by reading. We know that reading helps in improving a child’s vocabulary. To develop an ease in reading, vocabulary can be expanded with writing. Yes, Write to Read. Add in some spelling worksheets or workbooks. Example Workbooks or worksheets which have Picture as well as spellings like a fill in the blank. H_and , W_atch . All this work will help the kid improve their vocabulary!
Use every opportunity as their learning
Wherever you go, make your child read the board signs or Words on the banner or words on the Wall! Turn on the closed captioning on your television this is another good way to learn and read!
Be Expressive and Keep reading as long as you can
Change your voice to match different characters or the action that’s taking place in the story. Make funny faces when reading. Pull kids into reading something by adding in a factor of surprise and excitement.
Learn to say Yes when your elementary going child asks you to read a book. My son loves to cuddle up and listen while we read. Even though he reads quite fast than I do, he just wants me to read and slowly slips into his dreamland.
Never hesitate to go back basic reading
Don’t hesitate to go back to books with 3 to four words. They will help in improving his/her vocabulary.
Observe and Analyze
Once you had made a reading routine and once your child is in a preschool phase, You need to start observing and analyzing what he is learning and implementing. This is important because once the kid steps into kindergarten, they will be thrown into the multiple areas related to reading. Reading a book, Comprehension, Math Reading (Read and answer the questions) and much more. Preparing them for this phase is critical, and this can only be achieved by asking them questions observing them read and answer, asking them to summarize, etc.
Observe whether the babies and toddlers are listening to your voice, soaking up the language, focusing on the pictures or just learning to turn the pages. All these are basics of learning.
Intentionally skip the words or replace the words. Observe if they are paying attention and correcting you.
Nurture their reading
Your role in bringing up an early learner is not done completely even if your child is reading by her/himself! The indication your child is reading independently is only a first step that you have laid the foundation and are ready to begin. If you see your child is interested in reading or is reading with ease, your goal is to help him/her to become a better reader. This can be done by focusing on improving their vocabulary, fluency (reading quickly and accurately with expression), identifying rhyme, matching initial and ending sounds, Comprehension, and more. Comprehension is the ability to understand what happened in the story and why.It helps the kids to analyze the characters, plot, and purpose of the story and also to answer the questions as the story goes on.Help your child make connections between what they read in books and what happens in life.
Here are some of the What’s How’s and When’s Of Early Reading
When should I start reading to my child?
Studies suggest that reading to kids from infancy and setting up a routine would be an idle way to start their early reading skills. But It’s never too late. I would say start today. Initially, you might be able to do it only for 5–10 minutes. Read just a few pages at a time. Babies or children who are starting on a reading journey would have short attention spans, so it’s okay to put the book aside when your child loses interest.
But keep that up. Reading books should never be a chore for your child, it should be fun! So your first effort should be to create interest.
What books to start with?
Always start with picture books. Choose brightly colored board books that have pictures of familiar objects, like toys or animals. Pick board books that have pop-up characters, different textures to feel, flaps to lift, and holes where kids can poke their fingers through. Pictures books with fun illustrations can truly draw the children in. Relate the pictures to what they routinely do. If you see a Mama bear, baby bear indicate that it’s you and your kid going to park or something. This will help them imagine and draw their conclusions. Ask your child to name what’s in the picture or what will happen next.Once your child is showing some interest introduce them to 1–3 word books. Pick books that will interest them. Then move on to Level0, level1 and so on to Level5+ based on their liking and ease with which they read.
How do I pick the books that my child would like?
Once your child is showing some interest in reading look for the types of books she/he enjoys to read. Passion based books like Lego Nexo night, Minecraft, cars, princess’ stories, Disney classics, Mo Willems Elephant and the Piggie for early readers are all great way to encourage further reading.
Add in variations. Not just stories look for books in science, geography, etc. For example about earth, countries, oceans, volcanoes, space these would challenge the kid. You could also look for mythological books, moral stories which have less text and some words enlarged to show expression(Like WHAT!! HOW!! Etc). Books like these will help improve their vocabulary.
When your child expresses appreciation for a particular story, it might be worth exploring other titles by that author. It might be the subject or the characters that hook your child. The author probably replicates their recipe for success across multiple titles. Paying attention to authors can help kids become fans not only of reading but also of the authors themselves!
My kid knows alphabets How do I start with words?
Pick three-word books like Thomas and friends, Disney cars or whatever and whichever character you child likes. keep reading(repeat) them and point to few simple words and spell them out and next time ask him to repeat or read. Read the spelling the words out. Like the STOP sign, Exit board etc. Write a three letter word on a white board and keep spelling it out.Flash cards help too.Use Foam Alphabets and make words, you can use Apps which form 3 words. I will be kidding if I say he/she will pick up in no time. Because it does take time.
How can I make my kids continue to read?
Having the books accessible is key to develop the continuity. If books are lying around kids, tend to swing by and take a peak. They seem to have no interest, but they would come back. Also, make reading fun by getting them their magazine which includes puzzles and stories. Encourage reading on long drives. That means you have to practice not to take your digital devices out! :). Kids exhibit boredom, and that’s fine. Boredom is sometimes okay and will help kids explore. All you need is patience. Kids are smart. Once you show your kids a way to sooth using the digital devices, they will always find a way to come back to you for the same. Be it a visit to restaurants or a long drive. We often see ourselves finding a quick way to calm them that is through digital gadgets. We are pulling ourselves more into trouble than getting away from it.
Books are our Best friends, and love for the friends need to be developed and nurtured! Happy Reading!!!
Originally published at www.vimaneaa.com on April 16, 2017.
Originally published at medium.com