Encouraging a love of reading begins with making reading part of your everyday life. Children love to snuggle on the couch and listen to a good story. In fact, they may enjoy hearing their favorites over and over again. Don’t worry! This isn’t a waste of your time, even if you think your ears may bleed if you have to listen to The Cat in the Hat one more time. Repetition is a natural part of learning and helps reinforce your preschooler’s comprehension and vocabulary building. Choose a wide range of books to read to your child from nursery rhymes and timeless classics to lift-the-flap and touch-and-feel stories. The more you and your child interact with the book, the more everyone gains from the experience.
Help your little ones get excited about reading by playing pre-reading games together. You can play some of the excellent store-bought games available like Cariboo, Zingo or Very Silly Sentences. Or make up your own games with alphabet puzzle cards, foam letters, lacing letters, alphabet magnets and more! Little children learn the most when they can get their whole bodies involved in the fun so try activities that keep them moving. Hide alphabet cards around the house and give your preschooler five minutes to find a group of letters. Draw your names in the sandbox. String necklaces with letter beads and name the letters as you go. Your kids will have so much fun, they won’t even realize how much they’re learning!
Spark your child’s creativity and encourage a lifelong love of reading by helping your little ones write their own storybooks. Children are the most creative storytellers, so grab the crayons and paper and let the fun begin. If your child is too young to write the story him or herself, have your child dictate the words while you write them down. Afterwards, let him or her illustrate each page with colorful drawings. Make sure to bind the story when you are finished (staples or ribbon will do the trick!) so that you can read it again and again.
Children learn best by example. At this age, they are like sponges absorbing the world around them. Want to teach a love of reading? Model the behavior yourself. Show your children how much fun reading can be by spending some of your free-time curled up with a good book or magazine.
Libraries have come a long way since our childhood. Nowadays, the children’s section in your public library is as entertaining as your local play area. With so many fun and educational toys, puzzles, books and games, your children will love coming to the library. Be sure to take advantage of storytime where your children will hear new stories, sing songs and do crafts. Afterwards, give your preschooler his or her own book bag to fill to the brim with new reading treasures for the week ahead.
Bring the magic and power of literature into your home. Instead of turning on the boob tube at night, try establishing a family read-aloud. Little ones can play with Lego blocks or draw pictures while they listen, while older children may enjoy just focusing on the story. Consider picking longer chapter books so that your kids will look forward to a new installment each night. GoodReads has an excellent selection of fun family read-alouds that everyone in your family will enjoy.
Do you have a high tech kid? Check out the fabulous selection of interactive children’s e-books on Kindle.
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