Like most parents, we can’t wait for that first trip to the bookstore with our children. We watch them explore, far and wide, for that one book that catches their eye. That one book that, just by the cover, starts them on a literary adventure that lasts a lifetime.
For young children, every experience is new, and as parents, we play pivotal roles in providing thoughtful and unique experiences that lay the groundwork for success as they reach school age and beyond.
As children get older, reading and writing becomes less about correct pronunciation and recitation of words, and more about encouraging interpretive questions and answers. Children need interaction, and they need an experience that is as enchanting to their ears, nose, and eyes, as it is to their minds.
By taking our children on a reading safari, they can discern a lion’s roar, or visualize a speeding cheetah, and we start to help them make positive associations with the happiness that books and reading can offer.
But, it’s not just by reading and writing that children gain the critical skills needed for success. What we do at home with our children, our language-rich parent to child interactions, often aid not only academic literacy skills, but essential life and learning skills.
Here are some ways that we can support our young readers at home – preparing them for a lifetime love of learning and future success in today’s information economy:
Encourage reading comprehension through conversation. For example, if your child is a comic book fan, talk to them about the most recent issue that they have read, and ask them to explain the plot and action to you.
Provide an environment conducive to reading. Visit the library or have an at-home library where books are accessible. Encourage quiet reading practices and a comfortable space to facilitate reading.
Model good reading at home. Talk about what you are reading and let your child see you read. We often practice this by reading a book before bed, and inviting our children to quietly read beside us. This encourages both quality time, and demonstrates that you make time for reading, too.
Encourage writing. Purchase a special journal or notebook for your child so they have a safe space to record their thoughts, feelings, and experiences. A journal is a great way to help your child keep track of what they have read and their feelings about the text.
It’s okay to not finish a book. Growing minds are constantly formulating their tastes and opinions, so give them that choice and facilitate an environment where reading does not become a chore.
Incorporate technology. With so many digital resources, access to literacy tools and applications are more abundant than ever. Leverage technology to encourage language development, and support your child to become savvy digital citizens.
6th-8th Grade English Language Arts Subject Matter Expert
Legacy Traditional Schools
Christina Kosednar, M.Ed.
K-5th Grade English Language Arts Subject Matter Expert
Legacy Traditional Schools