xposure to books in the early childhood stages plays a key role in a child’s reading development. While most parents and caregivers know that children benefit from reading time, many struggle to fit it into their children’s hectic schedules. Fortunately, there are plenty of fun, practical ways that moms and dads can do to make reading a part of everyday family life.
Create a reading-friendly environment Research shows that lack of access to books and educational materials is the single greatest barrier
to literacy development in the U.S. and beyond. Books, magazines and newspapers should be within easy reach. Try designating a bookcase or shelf where children can keep a personal library.
Non-profit assistance Schools, daycares, shelters and other organizations that serve children from low-income communities can help those kids build their own home libraries through First Book, a non-profit organization that provides new books to children in need. According to First Book, a steady stream of new,
age-appropriate books has been shown to nearly triple interest in reading within months. If your organization is interested in receiving books for children you serve, call (866) 732-3669 or visit www.help.firstbook.org. For other inquiries, call (202) 393-1222 or visit www.firstbook.org.
Animated e-books Technologies that let you take interactive, animated reading material wherever you go include V.Reader, an e-book system for children. It’s aimed at creating an engaging reading experience for early readers, ages three to seven years old. The touch-and-read e-book brings stories to life with narration, characters, animation, graphics, sounds and music. Kids interact as they listen and follow along with a story, or touch the screen and play games to learn words and sentences. To find out more, visit www.vtechkids.com. Stimulate interest You can help a child develop reading skills even when you’re running errands or doing activities together. By going places and doing things with children, you help build their background knowledge and
Book access and encouragement help develop kids’ skills vocabulary. Telling stories and interacting with each other while on the go helps them develop their listening and thinking skills.
Local reading help The North Carolina Literacy Association supports independent, community-based literacy councils. These locally based councils offer programs to help adults, teenagers or both gain the reading and writing skills needed to earn a living wage. Sometimes they offer or know about programs to help young children read as well. Services can include free, one-on-one tutoring and other valuable help. In addition, many councils in North Carolina are integrating technology and computer literacy into their instructional programs to enhance students’ capacity to achieve their goals. Visit the North Carolina Literacy Association’s website at www.ncliteracy.org and click on “Affiliated Programs” for the phone number and website of a council near you. • When reading a book aloud to young children, point to each word as you read. This helps the child make a visual connection—that the word said is the word seen. Other tips include: • Read with your child every day, even if it’s just for a few minutes. • Ask open-ended questions, such as “What do you think is going to happen next?” or “Why do you think he did that?” • Find out what interests your child and get reading materials to feed that interest. • Let children see you read and invite them to read with you.
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Carolina Country Magazine, Setember 2010