Reading to your child regularly early on helps them to develop vocabulary, learn the names and sounds of letters, connect their own experiences to the books you read to them, and learn how books work. We now know that these skills, knowledge and understandings that lead children to be successful readers are developed long before kindergarten starts.
Birth to five is an amazing time in your child’s life! In this period your child’s brain and knowledge grow at a faster rate than they ever will again. You can help your children learn about the world around them and help them make connections between books and their own experience by reading, playing and talking with them. How cool is that?
Help Kids Notice Print
As adults and readers, we encounter text all day every day. In fact, we process text so much we don’t even notice it. Think back on your day…what text did you process today? Email? Stop sign? Recipe? Newspaper? Receipt? Help your child notice the print in your environment, and enrich the print in your environment by trying some of these ideas:
- Make “book looks” the go-to activity between other daily activities or while waiting for something like a doctor’s appointment.
- Play “I spy” a word. See what words your child can find in your home. Encourage the hunting even if your child doesn’t yet recognize the letters or the word. You’re building awareness of print anyway!
- Enrich the words in your home by placing labels on common things like “door”, “table”, “chair”, “window”, etc.
- “Think aloud” about the print you use. Say things like, “I’m going to read this letter,” or “I need to read the map to figure out where we are going.” This models for your child that using and creating text is something important that big people do…and they can too!
Learning about the different ways we use text in our lives is an important part of getting ready to read. Take time to talk about how you are using print throughout the day. This helps your child understand reading is not only about books and reading.
Pointing out road signs? Making a grocery list? Share your favorite way to make your kids aware of the print around them.