By Wini Ashooh
It is never too early to start reading to and with a child. Early literacy skills begin to develop long before children are actually reading the words on a page. Words can be found everywhere in our daily lives. Here’s something fun to try. On your next trip to the grocery store, take advantage of the many words visible to read aloud. The produce section is a great place to get started. When you pick up some apples, point to the letter A in the sign for apple.
Shared reading is an activity that can be practiced with the youngest of children and with multiple children. Because children love to spend time with their caregivers, shared reading will foster positive experiences in which a child will thrive. Books provide exposure to words that are not used conversationally.
Here are some simple ways to incorporate reading into your child’s everyday activities:
- Let the child read while you are both out running errands. Just holding a book is an early literacy skill which can be accomplished sitting in a grocery cart.
- Keep a container of books in the car for those times you and your child are stuck in traffic.
- Play the alphabet game while traveling long distances with your child. Try to find every letter in the alphabet by looking at signs along the way.
- Be sure to pick up some fun books to share about reading from the library.
- Put magnetic letters on the refrigerator to learn letters and make simple words.
Studies from Early Childhood Research Quarterly show that when the experience surrounding reading a book is full of imperatives (sit down, be quiet), the young child will associate reading with negative feelings.
By making early reading something fun to do every day and everywhere, caregivers can turn this activity into a positive time for everyone. Happy reading!
Explore some books about reading that you can enjoy together.