The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends daily reading with children in their infancy and beyond because “[r]eading regularly with young children stimulates optimal patterns of brain development and strengthens parent-child relationships at a critical time in child development, which, in turn, builds language, literacy, and social-emotional skills that last a lifetime.” For more information on reading from birth, visit here: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2014/06/19/peds.2014-1384.full.pdf+html
In addition to reading from birth, there are a few other steps that you can take to prepare your child for learning to read. The National Institute of Reading Literacy created A Child Becomes a Reader -- a booklet that maps the ways a parent can help their child become a reader. Here are a few key takeaways:
Introduce your children to print and books:
Reading print books to children helps promote print awareness. Print awareness is knowing about print and books and how they are used. For instance:
- Recognizing print in every day life like stop signs, pictures, and more…
- Holding a book and pretending to read by turning pages and holding it the right way up.
Print awareness is an important part of knowing how to read and write because children who know “about print understand that the words they see in print and words they speak and hear are related.”
Help your child develop phonemic and phonological awareness by reading together:
What is Phonological Awareness?
When a child begins to notice and understand syllables, rhyming, and separate words (“the ability to hear and work with the sounds of spoken language”) she is developing phonological awareness. Types of phonological awareness are: phonemic awareness, rhyme awareness, syllable awareness, word awareness, and sentence awareness.
What is Phonemic awareness?
Phonemic awareness is a subset of phonological awareness. When a child understands that spoken words are made up of separate small sounds (“these spoken sounds in spoken language are called phonemes”) and is able to consciously manipulate the sounds they have developed phonemic awareness.
Help your child develop phonological awareness by:
- Doing activities that help your child build sound skills
- Reading Rhyming books and doing rhyming activities (we recommend Rhyme Fish – a free game that helps with rhyming!)
- Playing with Syllables
- Playing with Sounds in Words
Help Your Child Learn the ABCs
According to the National Institute for Reading Literacy, “children who go to kindergarten already knowing the shapes and names of the letters of the alphabet, and how to write them, have an easier time learning to read.”
Help your child learn their ABCs by:
- Singing the alphabet song
- Playing alphabet games
- Having a day dedicated to a letter
- Reading letter books like My First Bob Books Alphabet
There are more helpful tips on helping your children learn to read in A Child Becomes a Reader by the National Institute for Reading Literacy. When you have the time, we highly recommend printing it out and reading through it!