Fostering a Love of Reading
SHARED by: Carissa Canovas, Admissions at York Avenue Preschool
One of the greatest things you can do for your child is to instill in them a love of reading. Exposing young children to reading and literacy equips them for their future success as readers, writers and lifelong learners. Here are a few things that you can do to build a solid foundation and encourage and promote reading for children:
- Read to Children Often: This might be the most obvious, but it’s also the most important. Before bed, first thing in the morning, on the subway, waiting for a meal at a restaurant- make the most of both your time and your child’s time. Read!
- Make Reading an Interactive Activity: Reading does not have to be a one-way street. Ask questions! Have conversations! Encourage your children to think deeply! With support and guidance, children can comprehend and analyze things at levels that can surprise you.
- Use Pictures to Make Connections: One of the first pre-literacy skills that a child learns is that print carries meaning. This is shown most greatly in picture books, where children understand that the pictures they are looking at go along with the story or words you are reading to them. Use pictures to elicit conversation and make predictions about what will happen next. Encourage your child to “read” to you by creating their own story using pictures.
- Use the Environment: The world around you is chock full of environmental print that while easily overlooked, is beneficial to a child’s knowledge and understanding of literacy. Logos, brands, and street signs are just a few examples of this type of print. Play games such as “I Spy” or “Look and Find” and incorporate letters, numbers and even store or business logos. Make the connection between the outside world and the stories you read!
- Engage in Reading Yourself: Whether it’s a book, the newspaper, your favorite magazine, or even an email on your computer, it is important for your child to see you engaged in reading activities. Reading different formats for various purposes, be it personal, professional, informational or enjoyment, shows children that reading is an extensive skill that encompasses all areas of life. Set aside some time during the week, even if it is just for 20 minutes, in which the whole family takes time to read independently.
- Continue to Read Aloud: It is important to continue to read to your child even after they are able to read by themselves. Reading together is an important bonding experience and should not stop once a child can read on their own. In addition, children can comprehend higher level texts than they may be able to read and decode on their own. Switch the levels, types and subjects of books to keep children interested and engaged.