Disclosure:: This post was sponsored and written by R.E.A.D. (Reading Enrichment And Development).
Give Your Child the Gift of Reading
Ensure School Success
Reading to your child every day is the single most important thing you can do to create a lifelong love of books and ensure school success. Research shows that the first five years of life are crucial to language learning. Reading will help build your child’s vocabulary, stimulate his imagination, and improve his communication skills. The more you talk to your child from the very beginning, the better it is for growth and development. Studies have shown that language skills are related to the number of words an infant hears each day. Parenting a child is a full time job, so how do you find time to incorporate reading into a busy schedule?
Ways to Engage
Here are some tips that help fit reading into your daily routine with a limited amount of stress.
- It’s never too early to start reading to a child. Reading can be a wonderful bonding opportunity. Hold your child while you read to them and they will grow up associating books with the warmth of your body and being held.
- We often think that we have to read the text as printed in the book. Follow your child’s lead. If they’re flipping through the pages, it often will suffice to point to a picture and name it.
- Choose books that are developmentally appropriate. For really little ones, they enjoy concept books and bright colors. You want to relate that to their experience too. You could extend the pointing and naming to “this is a cup” or “this is a bottle, you drink from the bottle” or something associated with their routine. As they get older, you can choose books that have increasing text and a more sophisticated plot.
- Reading is not restricted to sitting in a lap. While some children enjoy this, others, particularly active and curious children, are unable to sit still for an entire book. Read to them while they’re walking around, playing with Legos, or investigating a new toy. They are still listening. Seize opportune moments, such as when your child is in a highchair or the bath, to get in some reading time. There are waterproof books designed explicitly for this purpose.
- Expand the definition of reading. Rhymes, songs, and just talking to your child are wonderful ways to bring language into their daily life. You don’t have to be a rock star to sing to your child. Children naturally respond to the rhythm of language and love the sound of your voice.
- Make your reading time a fun, exciting adventure. Move to the rhythm of the text, or find a songbook. Add motions and an expressive voice to bring the book to life.
- Find the hook. Children express genre preferences early on, so find the subject that engages and interests your child. If you’ve gone to the zoo and they love animals, read them a story about an animal. If they like cooking, help them read the recipe. Reading can be in various formats, whether it’s a computer game, an ipad app or a magazine.
- Add a reading or language component to an everyday activity. Talk or sing while you’re changing a diaper, listen to a book on tape while driving. Keep a book in the car for unexpected free time, such as waiting at a doctor’s office. Grocery stores are another great opportunity for literacy learning. Have them help you write a list, even if it’s just contributing ideas, beforehand. Upon arrival, talk about what you see, pointing out signs and favorite foods.
- Find text in your environment. Letters in a child’s name and letters in family member’s names are their first core alphabet. Those are the letters they’ll learn first, so have them look for those. Look for letters in passing cars’ license plates. Have them find the “m” in McDonalds or the “t” in ToysRus.
- Establish a nighttime ritual. Reading or just looking at a picture book together can be a soothing end to a busy day. Curl up with your little one and start a lifetime of shared reading with someone you love.
Dynamic Early Reading Program
R.E.A.D. (Reading Enrichment and Development) is a dynamic early reading program for children at many levels of literacy, ages four months to five years. My remarks at the beginning of a session always include telling parents/caregivers that they are their child’s first and most influential teacher. Our aim is to create an encouraging, supportive environment that offers children and their parents opportunities to explore language and the joy of reading. We will help instill a love of books that will last a lifetime and give children the confidence and motivation needed to become successful readers.
R.E.A.D Nola was voted a 2016 favorite toddler enrichment program by Nola Baby & Family Magazine. On September 5, 2017, The New Orleans Advocate published an article about early childhood programs that highlighted READ.
Learn about R.E.A.D. and register now their 8 week winter session starting January 6th :: www.readnola.com.
“I have yet to find another daytime activity in the city compared to the quality of READ. Your wealth of experience and enthusiasm shines in every class we’ve attended, from moving at just the right pace for the age group to providing a wide variety of high quality toys & well thought-out themes each week. The classroom and playroom are “baby-proofed” so the children are safe when they need some freedom to roam. My 13-month old stays upbeat and engaged, has fun, and is learning new things with his friends. We eagerly look forward to our weekly sessions. Thank you again for putting so much thought, care, and excellence into your program! Those small details are noticed and are very much appreciated.”
–Katie Petrie, READ parent
Marilyn Levin, director of READ New Orleans has a special interest and expertise in early literacy. She taught kindergarten at Isidore Newman School in New Orleans, Louisiana for 14 years and is the founder and former director of the Isidore Newman Summer Reading Program. R.E.A.D. was founded in June 2002.