If you do one thing with your child each day….read, read, read. Read early. Read often. Read even when you are tired. 5 minutes. Read even when you are busy. Read with funny voices. Read in a soft voice when you need to calm the room. Read books and magazines and poems and newspapers and cookbooks and cereal boxes and signs and menus and labels and gum wrappers and grocery lists and ads and cable listings and….you get the idea.
But don’t just read. Talk about the pictures. Point to the words. Make predictions as you read. Ask your child questions about what you just read. Reread funny parts. Retell the story in your own words. Compare 2 stories. Model reading and thinking.
Get anyone who steps in your house to read to your child. (While they are reading to your child, leave the room and take a break) Make SURE your child sees you reading stuff you like. If you don’t like to read, fake it. “Yes honey, I will help you in 5 minutes, as soon as I finish this totally-awesome-can’t-put-down book about vampires.”
Keep books in everyone’s rooms. Group seasonal books together and set them out in a special place for the holiday or season or theme. Get to the library a few times a month and make a special place for those library books. Be excited about it! Hit those library story times! Play audio books in your car or during bath time. Lay out a blanket at a park or in your living room or in your backyard and have a book picnic!
Put your children to bed early enough to be read to, and to also look at books on their own in their bed. Soon enough, they will be reading themselves to sleep! Reading is the best gift you can give your child…and it’s an upfront investment that will give back to you!
Happy reading! –Shelisa