According to the
American Library Association (ALA), "A child's early
experiences with language contribute to healthy brain
development and lay the foundation for learning to read
when a child enters school." As a result, parents and
caretakers are the child's most important teachers
before that child reaches school age. Basically,
children learn better when they enjoy reading.
The ALA also
mentions that children are more likely to become good
readers if they start school with three sets of
Children are able to
comprehend and to express themselves with a wide
range of words. They are able to distinguish the
sounds as well as the meaning of words.
Children have learned that
the black and white marks on a page represent spoken
words. They are able to name the letters of the
Motivation to learn and
appreciation for literary forms: Children have been
exposed to a wide variety of literary experiences
and have learned to love books and stories.
Here are some tips to help you instill a love of
reading in your child:
Babies love when you sing
and read to them and tell them stories, poems and
rhymes...and even small babies can enjoy books.
Board books and bath books
are often the first books children will come across.
They can be treated as toys, but they will help them
learn how to handle books, how to turn pages and how
to enjoy the shapes, colors and pictures.
Tell your baby and young
child nursery rhymes and repeat them often.
Choose books with colorful
pictures and simple words--or no words at all.
Encourage your toddler to
point out objects, repeat words, and talk about the
Children often want to
listen to the same story again and again. This is
fine, as it builds confidence and familiarity with
words, and reinforces that stories are fun.
Try to share books together
each day, and not just at bedtime.
Help your child develop
reading comprehension. Instead of reading the story
straight through, ask the child open-ended questions
about the story: "Why do you think Goldilocks ate
Baby Bear's porridge?" "What do you think will
Read or tell stories in the
language you are most comfortable with. It doesn't
have to be English!
Tell stories about your
family and your culture.
Visit the library. Ask
about story times. Borrow books to share with your
child at home.
Encourage older children to
read to their younger brothers and sisters.
Be an example to your
children; let them see you read books too.
Between the ages of 4 and 7,
many children will begin learning to read, but you
should still continue to read to them as often as
possible. Remember, children learn at different paces.
Be patient with your child. If he gets stuck, encourage
him to make a guess by looking at the pictures and
remembering what has happened in the story. In addition,
you can help an older reader in these ways:
Make the most of books your
child brings home from school. Read them, or parts
of them yourself and talk about them with your
Allow your child to re-read
favorite and familiar stories, or to hear you
re-read them. Knowing a familiar book will help them
notice more about the words on the page and they
will start to recognize the patterns in new words
Listen to stories learned
by heart and encourage your child to re-tell them in
her own words, or even act them out.
Buy books as presents
instead of toys.
Set up a special place for
books from the library or their own books.
Find books about something
you know they like.
When your child reads and
gets a word wrong, let her finish the line before
you correct her. Children often realize what the
word should be and go back and correct themselves.
If your child doesn't know a word in a sentence, get
her to say ?something? instead. She can often work
it out from other words around it.
Most importantly, try to
keep cool! It's important not to get fed up if your
child needs to practice things over and over again.
And remember, words are everywhere. Encourage your
child to read all sorts of things like cereal boxes,
videos, billboards, street signs, newspapers, CDs.
Adapted from the American Library
Association and the Department for Education and
Skill, UK, information on reading.