Parenting advice: Start early to teach pre-reading skillsQ: How do I teach my child to read, and at what age is it best to start?
Q: How do I teach my child to read, and at what age is it best to start?
A: Chances are that if you are concerned about your child learning to read, then you already have started him or her down the path to being a full-fledged reader. The foundation for reading begins when you are reading to your newborn.
Listening to your voice while cuddling close to you helps your baby’s brain develop, along with building her vocabulary, creating a love of reading and building a strong bond with you.
As your baby grows, she will show you she’s learning about books and reading by holding a book (it’s OK if it’s upside down), looking at pictures, and turning pages. Continuing story time (even if baby is too impatient to wait until the end of the story) will reinforce the importance of reading and help her gain behaviors that are necessary for learning to read.
If your child is a preschooler and you are wondering if it’s time to encourage him to read, make sure to follow your child’s lead and make it as positive an experience as you can. I can’t emphasize enough that children learn best when it doesn’t feel like a chore.
Here are some tips on how to help your child learn to read:
Your local library is an excellent resource. If you live in a rural Northeastern Minnesota community, you may be eligible for the “Mail-A-Book” or Bookmobile services through the Arrowhead Library System (www.arrowhead.lib.mn.us).
The United Way of Greater Duluth sponsors the “Imagination Library” program. If you are a resident of greater Duluth with a child under age 5, your child may be eligible to receive a free book every month until age 5.
Go to the National Institute for Literacy Web site for more information on early literacy (www.nifl.gov). Remember that showing your child how you enjoy reading — whether it’s a magazine, newspaper, computer screen or book — encourages him or her to enjoy reading too. Happy reading!
Amy Petrovich Goranson is the parent/infant coordinator for Duluth Early Childhood Family Education. She has a bachelor’s degree in K-6 education and parent education from the University of Minnesota Duluth and a master’s degree in education from St. Mary’s University of Minnesota.