Reading with Young Children
Early literacy is critical for helping children develop the foundation they need to have a successful start in life, including starting kindergarten ready to learn. Southwest Human Development’s early literacy programs and emphasis on early literacy throughout all of our agency programs are encouraging families to read together to help children have a positive start in life.
The following ideas can help your family develop your child’s love for literacy:
- Book cuddling with young children creates warm, safe emotions and sets the foundation for a love of reading and learning.
- Read aloud to your child every day! From birth to six months your baby probably won’t understand what you are reading, but that’s okay. Your baby will get used to the sound of your voice and will also become accustomed to seeing and touching books.
- To start, use board books with no words or just a few words. Point to the colors and the pictures and say their names. Simple books can teach children things that will later help them learn to read.
- Sharing your life stories using photo albums is wonderful way to spend book cuddling time with your children. Children are amused by old pictures of their parents.
- Read in the language you feel most comfortable with or learn new words with your child in a language different than your own. This empowers them as they learn new things.
- If you don’t have books readily available or not a lot of time, simply narrating daily activities or talking with your children increases their vocabulary and literacy skills.
- Let your child drive the process, if he/she only wants to read for three minutes don’t force it, just try again another day. This will eventually increase their attention span and enjoyment of reading together.
- The public library is a great resource for children 0-5 with age appropriate books, story telling and other early literacy information.
- Don’t ever feel that your child is too rambunctious for the library; in fact young children are some of the library’s favorite patrons.
- Make writing materials available. Drawing and writing are part of literacy skills.
- Read yourself. What you do sets an example for your child.