A recent article adds further evidence of the many advantages of reading to your child. This latest study indicates that those benefits extend even to reading to school age, literate children. So don’t stop reading with them just because they themselves have learned to read. Keep doing so, and EVERY DAY.
There are other steps that I recommend employing:
1) The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children under age 2 be shielded from all video media but rather you should read exclusively to them. I believe this may be a bit over the top–watching some limited TV or videos with your young toddler can be fun and educational AS LONG AS you are watching with him or her; talking, teaching, asking questions to engage and stimulate their eager little minds. It is the tendency to use the TV as an “electronic babysitter,” making the child only the passive receptacle of what’s occuring in front of them that is intellectually unhelpful.(In my day, the TV was nicknamed “the idiot box.”)
2) Read and sing to your child daily. Look at them. Speak slowly and clearly (not like me!) and allow your child to see how your mouth forms the words.
3) As above, ask age appropriate questions about what you are reading (“Do you see the boy running?” “Where is the red ball?” “How many doggies can you count on the page?” )
4) For older toddlers, use your finger to scroll along the lines as you read them so your child sees how you progress across the page.
5) Associate words with pictures–say the word then point to the picture of the object (“see the cat?”)
6) Also for older toddlers, make “theme days” for letters or numbers–eg, highlight all words beginning with “S”, feature that sound, challenge your child to think of words starting with the letter “S”. Sesame Street uses this technique to great effect(remember, “Today’s show is brought to you by the letter “S”?)
7) Play rhyming games–challenge your child to think of words that rhyme with a word on that page
8) Involve older children. If older sister reads to little brother, she gets to stay up later (for example). More reading time for sister, bonding time for siblings, and a few precious free minutes for parents!!
9) Be a good role model–read books yourself, and talk about the books you are reading with your child. That’s a great stimulus–as you child grows she will more likely follow your lead.
Please feel free to comment or ask quesitons, and thanks for following.