Monday, September 12, 2011

Reading Starts With R!

The second guest post in the September series by Amanda Lehrman from The Momma Files.
Amanda Lehrman has a background in education and is a mother to her son Jack.  Please check back here for more educational tips to prepare your little ones for school.

Reading is a skill that starts before the days of school.  It begins with babies recognizing pictures in a book and progresses naturally as that child gets older.  My son has a book of first works that was introduced to him when he was a few weeks old.  He knows this book as well as he know us.  For a child who is extremely active and mobile, he will sit still and point to the pictures when we read to him.  The earlier parents begin exposing children to literature and literacy, the more beneficial it will be for those sons and daughters.

If your child is in pre-school or day care they are most likely "reading" every day.  They look at signs in their classroom, they recognize their name on a chair or a cubby and they look at books.  They are reading.  It may not be in the conventional way that we picture it but it is most definitely reading.

If your child is not in a school environment yet, there are plenty of things to do to expose your child to these skills.  Continue reading books every day.  Repeat their favorites as many times as they request.  You may start to notice that they anticipate the next page.  Foster this as much as you can.  Ask them questions about the following pages.  What character will we see next?  What happens to Elmo on the next page?  Even though they cannot read the words, they know exactly what is going on in the book.

Take it a step further and try introducing pattern books.  Many of these books have the same sentence on each page, aside from the last word.  For example, a book can read, "The bear is big", "the bear is brown", " the bear is little" etc.  Even if your child cannot read the words. they will read the book through the pictures.  They will know which description word comes next.  If you think they are ready, introduce questions such as "where is the word brown on this page?" or "What letter does bear begin with"?

It is never too early to introduce children to reading.  They are sponges, taking in everything, even if they cannot verbally express what they are learning.  Give them the chance to amaze you; expose them to literacy early on and you will be pleasantly surprised to see what they can do!

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