Parents Set the Course for Success!

This semester in READ 6310 Children’s and Adolescent Literature, students were asked to contribute a post to this blog.

By Solis

Reading is an important part of your children’s development and should start at home. Begin reading to your children from day one—it is never too early to begin. Your children will enjoy the rhythm of your voice and the comfort of your arms as you read. You do not have to wait for them to start school and you do not have to stop once they have started school.

Why should you read to your children? Reading to your children has tremendous benefits. It encourages language development, it helps build vocabulary, it supports literacy skills, it creates a bond between you and your children, and it helps your children recognize and experience reading for pleasure.

Where can you find inexpensive books? You may find free or inexpensive books at your local library, garage sales, flea markets, discount stores, and/or books stores. There are always sales!

What type of books should you use? For infant and toddlers, use board books. Board books have thick pages which makes it easier for them to turn. In addition, board books can be wiped clean and endure a nibble or two. For older toddlers, use interactive books such as lift-the-flap and/or with textures.

What type of genres should you read? It is best to expose your children to a variety of books. There are assortments of genres to choose from: picture books, picture story books, folktales, fairy tales, fables, legends, myths, historical fiction, modern fantasies, realistic fiction, poetry and drama, biographies, and multicultural books.

What types of genres are best? They are all beneficial. However, begin reading picture books. As your children begin to grow older, introduce books that are of interest to them.   Then you may gradually present different genres. If your children do not like a particular type of book—it is okay. Move on to another genre and try reintroducing the books they did not like at a later time.

What books should you select? Select books that reflect your children’s interests. The best way to find out is to ask or observe. You may also select books to help generate interest in a particular topic.

For infants and toddlers, select books with: rich illustrations that help support the text, simple rhyming, repetitive phrases, and a cumulative story.

For older children, make selecting books to read fun. Turn the experience into an adventure. Go to your local library and hunt for books together. Rummage through boxes at garage sales and flea markets to find suitable books. Search through shelves at different stores for interesting and inexpensive books.

How often and how long should you read? Read to your children every day. Make it a routine. Read to them at the same time, preferably at bed time. Be sensitive to their attention spans. You do not have to read the whole selection and you do not have to read word for word. Build up to at least 15 minutes per day. The key is not to force it upon them—remember it is supposed to be a pleasurable experience.

Read to your children. Begin early, do it every day, and enjoy the experience. Set the course for success!

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