Every parent wants to raise a smart, happy and well-adjusted child. The good news is, one of the best things you can do to guarantee a good head-start on this process is easy: read to and with them! Children who read are proven to do better in school and have a better chance of success in life. It’s easy and it’s simple. Here are some tips and tricks for getting the most out of side-by-side reading with your child.
Reading with Your Child
The earlier your child becomes a bookworm, the better off he or she will be. There is no way to overemphasize the advantages a child gains from learning to love books early on. Not only does it build vital reasoning and language skills, it creates an environment of love and a deep bond between parent and child which will make reading a healthy coping skill as they grow.
Before You Read
Take some time to prepare both you and your child before you start reading time. Talk about the author—especially if it’s someone you’ve read before. For example, say, “Remember how much you loved The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe? This book is called Prince Caspian. It’s also by C.S. Lewis, and it’s the second book in that series!” Show off the book cover and talk about what the book’s themes are. Set topics for discussion for the child to consider as you read.
While You Read
Be expressive while you read. If you can, do voices for characters. Be enthusiastic and emote as the text indicates. Slow it down to build suspense, and speed it up for action. Point out how the illustrations match the text and encourage your child to question as they listen. Stop to ask the child questions and talk about the events and themes. Elaborate and exaggerate the text with your own comments.
When you are done reading, take a few minutes to sit quietly with your child and let them digest the story. After a few minutes, encourage them to talk about what they liked and/or didn’t like. Go over the events of the story, and guide your child through interpreting the deeper meanings.
Don’t push, however. Let the child find things on their own. You don’t want them to get frustrated. Make your questions guiding and leading. Help the child connect to the story on a personal level. Show them how the book relates to their real life.
In the Future
Eventually, your child will want to begin reading on his or her own. You should encourage this. Help them by having them read to you. Take turns reading to each other. Make a game out of it. If your child begins reading on their own, they may come to you to discuss their latest book. Stop what you’re doing and listen. Building this excitement is key to keeping their interest strong.
If you’re ready to launch your child on a wonderful world of literacy and love of books, try one of our fun and interactive free ebooks. Then read some more about the other literacy tools we have available. There’s no time like today!