“Reading is our favorite ‘together’ time,” says Carrie Simmons. The Bellevue mom of three began sharing the written word with her kids when they were newborns. “It is treasured bonding time, and all three of my children have strong vocabularies because of the focus our family has on books,” she adds.
Simmons’ kids, Matt (12), Christie (8) and Blake (5) enjoy reading a vast array of titles, and weekly trips to the library are a beloved family tradition. Simmons says she believes it’s vital to read to kids when they’re babies. “Making it a part of your child’s daily routine when they’re little helps instill a lifelong love a reading,” she notes.
READ ACROSS AMERICA DAY
The National Education Association (NEA) encourages all ages to crack open a book during Read Across America Day. This special day has taken place on March 2 since 1998. It falls on the birthday of one of the world’s most celebration children’s authors, Dr. Seuss.
The annual reading awareness and motivation program calls for all kids in all communities to celebrate reading on Dr. Seuss’ special day. NEA also provides parents with resources and activities to keep kids reading 365 days a year.
CREATING STRONG READERS
There’s no denying that reading to children when they’re little spells success for early literacy. The U.S. Department of Education offers the following simple strategies to build strong readers:
• Invite your child to read with you daily.
• When reading a book where the print is large, point word by word as you read. This helps your child learn that reading goes from left to right. It also helps your child understand that the word he says is the word he sees.
• Read your child’s favorite book over and over again. Make it more fun by creating special voices for the different characters in the book. This goes a long way in helping bring a story to life when read aloud.
• Read lots of stories with rhyming words and lines that repeat. Encourage your child to join in on these parts. Point, word by word, as he reads along with you.
• Discuss new words. For instance, “This big house is called a palace. Who do you think lives in a palace?”
• Stop and ask about the pictures and about what is happening in the story.
• Read from a variety of children’s books, including fairy tales, song books, poems and information books.
As a reminder, reading is at the heart of all learning. Kids who can’t read well can’t learn. Do your part to instill the gift of reading in your child from the start.