Reading opens so many doors- to other worlds of imagination, instructions for building things, signs to teach you where to go, and much more. Since we believe reading is the key to success, these 7 Ways To Raise A Toddler Who Loves To Read are important for us. The younger you teach them to love reading the better chance of success they have later on. Set them up for success right from the beginning, even as early as before they are born! We are going to focus today on instilling a love of reading in them from toddler hood and beyond. Some tips here may be obvious, consider them a reminder to incorporate them into day to day life.
- Read TO them- I can never stress enough how important this is, I have fond memories of my mothers voice reading to me every night. Reading to your child is the first time your child learns that words have meanings, they see that the words you speak correlate to the pictures they see and they connect them.
- Introduce them to the library- Take them to toddler story time if your local library offers it, get them a card and show them where the books for their level are. How exciting to choose from such a vast collection! This will get your child excited about reading and discovering all the books there are. Teach them about borrowing, of course taking care of them, returning them, and getting more!
- Give them books- I have a bit of a book addiction myself so I am constantly purchasing books for the kids and myself. I do buy some new but often pick them up at yard sales, thrift stores and on ebay to flesh out our quickly growing library. Keep lots of books on hand that grab their interests. For my toddlers I kept board books on the shelve at their level, in baskets next to the couch, and stacked on tables. The nicer picture books went up higher and require mom or dads help to reach.
- Find new favorite reading spots- Our favorite place to read is snuggled up on the couch, unless it's a beautiful day then we might move outside to our hammock in the shade with our favorite picture book, then again sometimes I will read a chapter while they are taking a bath ( captive audience and all). Change the location and create lovely, warm reading memories all over the place- comfy chairs, in bed, on a blanket in the yard, curled up in a living room fort with a flash light,etc..
- Ask questions - This is great early practice for reading comprehension and also inference. "What do you think the dog is doing here in this picture?", "What did Molly's mommy tell her to do?" for example.
- Don't force it- If your child doesn't want to read right now or even today, set it aside. Come back tomorrow, try a different book, a different location, a different tactic altogether. Also even if you read out loud while they play you will be surprised how much they retain while they don't even seem to be paying attention.
- Use Environmental print- Environmental Print is the print that appears in every day life. What is one of the first signs your child recognizes? For many it is the famous golden arches, or the logo for your favorite grocery store. This teaches children again that words stand for something, letters can be put together to create a word for something. Point out common signs and ask your child to "read" them, are they actually reading? No, not truly but it will give them confidence for reading later when they are able to recognize the concept of connecting words to pictures.
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