Reading to Your Child

With the new year here, parents of preschoolers are frequently telling me that they made a resolution to help their child perform better in school, but that they need some advice about how to go about doing it. Well, if parents havent been reading to their child since infancy, I am not going to throw the book at them, but I will tell them to start making books a priority in the home. More than 40 million Americans lack literacy skills, and failure to read is a major factor in drop-out rates, delinquency, teen pregnancy, substance abuse, and other societal problems. We also know that reading aloud to children is the most important activity in building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading and school performance. So, to promote reading in your family, here are a few suggestions: Begin looking at books with your child in early infancy. They cant comprehend what you are reading, but seeing the pictures and just holding the book at this age can make a developmental difference. Make it a tradition to introduce a new book at each family celebration or holiday. Build daily reading time into your childs schedule, and make it relaxed and fun. If you see it as a chore, so will your child. Invite older siblings to read to younger siblings. Keep books visible in prominent places in your house, and make them easy to get to. Have friends or relatives send your child emails or letters, and read them together. If you want to reward your child for good behavior, have one of the treats be additional reading time. Or, if your child is older, reward him or her by extending bedtime by a few minutes. Most kids like to stay up later, and tying it to reading is win-win. Finally, make sure to model good behavior by reading to yourself or out loud in front of the children, even it if is just a newspaper, magazine, or catalogue. Hopefully these tips will ensure a happy ending when it comes to making books and reading important chapters in your familys daily activities.

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