"at your library" in the north island eagle: is your child ready to read?

In our local paper.

At Your Library: Is Your Child Ready to Read?

Kindergarten is a child’s introduction to school – but your children’s education begins long before they ever set foot in a classroom.

At The Library: Is Your Child Ready to Read?

Teachers and librarians talk about something called “reading readiness”. A child who is ready to read begins kindergarten set up for success. A child who doesn’t have reading readiness may begin school already struggling.

Here’s another way to look at it. Children who do well in school have more options, better life chances. How do children do well in school? By being strong readers. How do children become strong readers? By beginning school with reading readiness, then continuing to read throughout their school years. And how do children become ready to read? Through their parents and caregivers.

Helping your child become ready to read is not difficult. You may be already doing it without even realizing it. Here are five ways parents and caregivers can help children become ready to read.

* Talking *
Talking to your children, letting them hear your voice as you go about your daily life, helps children learn language – and language is a key to reading readiness. When your baby babbles to you, talk back!

If you speak more than one language, speak to your child in the language you are most comfortable with, the one in which you have the biggest vocabulary. Hearing lots of different words helps children get ready to read.

* Singing *
Singing and rhyming helps children learn the sound of words. Sing to your baby! Play rhyming games. Sing silly songs, or songs your parents taught you. Your children love to hear your voice.

* Playing *
Kids learn through play. Play helps children understand words and concepts. Children learn more when parents and caregivers join in. So put down your phone and pick up a toy!

* Writing *
When your child scribbles and draws, they are getting ready to read. All you need is a crayon and a piece of paper. Write your child’s name and help them copy it. Write the alphabet and sing it!

* Reading *
I saved the most important one for last. Reading together is the best way to help your child get ready to read.
When you read with your child, they learn what books are, how pages turn, what letters look like. They hear stories and associate those stories with the letters and words on the page.

It’s never too early! Parents and caregivers should even read to babies. Their growing minds soak up language. You can’t see it, but they are becoming ready to read!

I encourage you to read with your child every day. Make it part of your routine together, like brushing your teeth – but more fun.

Many parents struggle with reading. If you find reading difficult, reading with your child will improve your own skills, too. Your child will enjoy the experience just as much.

The staff at your library can help you find books that your child will enjoy. Enjoying reading together will be crucial to your child’s reading readiness.

Just for good measure, I’ll repeat what I said in my previous column. Children whose parents read to them do better in school – and children who do better in school have greater life chances. So when you read to your child, you are setting them up for success, in school and in life.

Next column: what should school-age children read?

No comments: