Thursday, February 23, 2012

Reading is Essential!

No matter the age, reading is essential! Reading with babies is as important as reading with a toddler, preschooler or school ager. Making time in the day for reading is relaxing and enjoyable for everyone. I like to sprinkle the day with reading - 10 or 15 minutes in the morning, just before nap time and again to wind down before parents arrive home. It's a wonderful routine before bedtime, quieting and calming everyone.

As children get older and begin reading themselves it is good to encourage personal reading time. A period when everyone has a book to enjoy. Early readers are wonderful for side-by-side reading where child and adult share reading. One of the children would read the left page and I'd read the right, or some version of that. Then we'd expand until they were doing most of the reading while I might ask a question or two as we went along.

Choosing books from a variety of subjects is a great idea. It expands the child's world and introduces them to new ideas, places or people. I liked to have a chapter book going for all the children to enjoy together, it was always a great group activity. At the same time we'd have books for each age and level so that they could choose their own books during reading time. Visiting the library allowed us to sample a variety of authors, subjects and styles. We also built a very strong home library with classic books and favorites. Each child had their own book bin or shelf in their room, so there was always a book in easy reach. I brought a book bag in the car for trips or longer outings. If we were traveling or on vacation we'd still include books in our activities.

Infant and young toddler books are typically made of sturdy stuff - board or cloth books can handle the sometimes rougher use. Books for young children rely on strong illustrations, word rhythm and rhyme, as well as word repetition to deliver the story. Early reading books also use repetition along with simple words and basic sentence patterns. These early readers often allow for children to bring in phonic techniques to discover new words. The use of illustrations that help the reader decipher content is important. As children grow to be more confident readers the need for illustrations on every page starts to fade as they take the story context to a new level - one where they are seeing the story develop not in an illustration but in their own mind.

Encourage children to read by choosing books that feature their interests, making reading part of the every day routine and by modeling the joy of reading yourself. Children are watching what you do - let them see you reading.

No comments:

Post a Comment