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Published: January 28, 2021
- Read together every day. You can read the morning news at breakfast, share a story after supper, or cuddle up for a book at bedtime. A daily reading routine is something everyone can look forward to.
- Talk and build vocabulary. Interesting conversations build vocabulary, language skills, and knowledge about the world. Talk is a child’s best source of exposure to new words and ideas.
- Model reading. Kids want to do what the grownups do. Make sure your kids get to see you reading and hear you talk about it.
- Point out print. Read and talk about the words you see in the world around you. There’s lots to read—signs, recipes, cereal boxes, instruction manuals, bus schedules, news, maps, and menus.
- Visit the library. Take advantage of all the books, materials, story times, programs, and resources your local library has to offer.
- Create a reading-rich home. Find books at the bookstore or yard sales. Provide a special shelf or basket for kids to keep their own books and one for library books. Make sure there are quiet, comfortable places to read.
- Encourage your child’s reading. Praise the efforts of a soon-to-be or beginning reader. Make sure schedules of older readers include time for reading for pleasure.
- Keep books handy. Stash books in your bag to read aloud when you travel or have to wait at restaurants or for appointments. Or keep eBooks on your phone.
- Start reading traditions. Beyond bedtime stories, consider a special birthday book, holiday favorites, or a regular family read aloud night.
- Let kids choose books. Offer titles that explore your child’s interests, expand horizons, and offer exposure to different kinds of writing. Show them there are books where they can see themselves and books where they can see the worlds of others.
- Make everyone comfortable. Find a spot to read together where you are both comfortable. Sometimes kids have to move around to be comfortable.
- Be an active reader. Use expressive voices for characters, make sound effects, and point things out in the text and illustrations when you read aloud.
- Discuss what you read. Give your child enough time to absorb the story and look at the pictures as you read. Think aloud about what you are reading and looking at and encourage your child to do the same.
- Ask questions when you read. Ask your child to guess what comes next. Ask open-ended questions that help them relate to characters or events in the book. Let your child get involved and ask questions too–interruptions are okay!
- Encourage re-reading. Repetition helps kids learn. Re-reading favorite books and poems helps kids make meaningful connections between themselves and books.
- Connect reading and writing. Write your own reading material, like a story about your life, a story featuring your kids, or a story kids make up.
- Make media matter. Connect kids with appropriate technology—videos, apps, or games that help them learn new words and interesting things about the world.
- Get help. If you have concerns about your child’s language development, hearing, or vision, see your child’s pediatrician as soon as possible.
- Make reading an experience. Link life experiences with books, like a trip to the zoo and books about animals, or planting a garden and reading The Ugly Vegetables by Grace Lin.
- Have fun. Your idea of fun may differ from your child’s, so appreciate your child’s special joy for learning new things. Try different approaches, such as having them read to you or acting out a favorite story. Even something as simple as a story time outside can make reading together livelier and more memorable for you and your child.
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