5 child reading tips from Prescolaire Early Learning Academy.

5 Tips for reading with your child

by Prescolaire Early Learning Academy. | June 1, 2021

Readers ARE Leaders – Reading With Your Child is a Great Start

You may have heard the phrase readers are leaders. Unlike many adages, this one, it turns out, attributed to Harry S. Truman, is true. Reading builds verbal intelligence, making readers better communicators. It can also help develop emotional intelligence, with readers exhibiting more empathy and a better understanding of social cues. Finally, reading helps develop critical thinking, analytical and problem-solving skills.

But even though global literacy rates are the highest they've ever been, fewer people are reading. If you want your child to learn to love reading, start by reading to them. Here are some tips for reading to your child.

Read Often

Read to your preschooler every day, whether you make it part of a bedtime ritual or a fun activity in the afternoon, or both. The point is to make it a regular daily exercise. It's habit-forming, but it also fosters a love for reading. Your child will look forward to it. Reading is associated with good times, especially if you make it both fun and comfortable.

Make Reading Fun

There are plenty of ways to make reading an enjoyable experience for you and your child. Use different voices for the various characters in the book. Use inflection, raise your voice when a character shouts and then whisper when they do that too. If you can add accents or read in a funny voice, try that. Your child will be enthralled. Ask questions as you read. Start with a new book's cover. Ask your child what he thinks the book will be about. Before you turn a page, ask your child what she thinks might happen next. Point out pictures in the book and ask questions about those. You can even base an art or craft activity on something you read in the book.

But mostly, show your child that you see reading as a fun activity by reading with fun in your voice. Explicitly tell your child how much you love to read.

Make Reading a Comfortable Activity

This is the time to cuddle up with your child on a comfy chair or maybe in the middle of your bed with a warm blanket. If it's warm outside, consider reading in a hammock or on a swing. Or, throw some big pillows on the floor and start there. The point is to associate reading time with comfort.

Be Present When You're Reading

This is not the time to answer your phone, even if that call or text from a relative or colleague looks important. Better yet, leave your phone in another room and discourage interruptions from others in the house. This demonstrates your interest in reading to your child, an attraction they'll quickly pick up. It also translates into quality time with your child where they know they have your undivided interest. This, too, will link reading with pleasure and comfort.

Provide Reading Choices

You may prefer to introduce them to Shakespeare, but they may be more interested in Where the Wild Things Are. Foster that interest. The love of one book easily and quickly turns into a love of many books. One caveat, though, children are not unlike adults. They will have favorite books, and they will have books they don't care for. Respect that. Allow your child to choose what you will read. You may have to read the same book over and over for a while, particularly with toddlers and babies who love repetition. That's ok. It is still reading, and they love it.

Know When to Stop Reading

Knowing when it's time to stop reading is also crucial. There is such a thing as too much of a good thing. This line will be different with every child. An active child may have more trouble sitting still for long periods while other children may be willing to sit and read with you for hours. Make sure you don't extend beyond their saturation level for reading. If they're done and want to move on, try to respect it and don't force. Instead, finish a page or complete the book, extending the time slightly if you can.

Reading to your child will foster imagination and help her understand the world. It may also help him become a lifelong reader and provide him with a valuable skill to help him find success later in life.

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