Most parents understand the value of sharing reading experiences with their child. However, not all realize that the way they read to their little one, and even how they interact with their child during playtime, can impact learning. Parents can help grow literacy skills while teaching their child to draw, play catch or count numbers. What’s most important is making these experiences fun, engaging and memorable.
“The more children interact with reading material, the more active and confident readers they become,” says Dr. Carolyn Jaynes, literacy learning designer at LeapFrog, a developer of innovative, technology-based educational products. “Read with your child at an early age and build fun daily routines that incorporate reading.”
Dr. Jaynes offers the following tips for parents who want to help their children become active, avid readers:
• Read often. Practice pays off. The more kids read, the more they grow skills. A nightly bedtime story is a good place to start.
• Make reading fun. The more engaging the reading experience, the more it benefits the child. Make story books come to life by giving characters different voices and adding drama to the narration; when a character acts surprised or sad, change your tone to express the emotion. You want your children to realize that, beneath the surface of the text, there is a great story filled with imagination.
• Help kids interact with the reading material. Asking questions will help your child remember the story. Talk with them about the narrative, and ask what they think of a character’s decision. What would they do differently? What do they think will happen next? Encourage them to interrupt you if they don’t understand a word.
• Point out the illustrations. Have your child demonstrate their comprehension of the narrative by pointing to story elements in the illustration. For example, ask questions like “Can you point to the bear that looks worried?” or “Where was the wolf hiding before he crossed the road?”