How To Read to Your Children

Teaching a child to love to read is an important step in preparing them to be good students and lifelong learners. You can encourage a love of books in your children by making reading a part of their lives:

  1. Start young -- very young. Establish an early love of reading by reading to your newborn and continuing throughout his/her childhood.

  • Make reading a part of your daily routine. Take the time to read a little each day after dinner or at bedtime (or both!).
  • Be prepared to re-read, again and again, some of your child's favorites!
  • Utilize the services of your local library.
  • Picture books and books with very simple stories are good first choices.
  • Books where the stories are told in rhymes often appeal to children. Much like music, stories with a continuing rhythm are appealing.
  • Look for books with bright pictures, especially for very young children.
  • Make your reading time fun. Use silly voices for some of the characters and let your facial expressions reflect the mood of the book.
  • As your child is able, encourage them to "interact" with their story books. Ask them to point to objects and as they get bigger, to guess what might happen next.
  • Establish a regular spot for reading. A big, comfy chair, your child's bed or under a backyard shade tree make wonderful reading locations.
  • Choose some favorite books from your childhood to share with your children.
  • As your child grows, encourage him/her to read to you. Begin by allowing them to "read" favorite stories that they have memorized and continue this trend until you and your child are taking turns reading to each other.
  • Find books on subjects that interest your child. From aardvarks to zephyrs, your librarian and local book seller can help you to locate a book on most any topic.
  • Add books to your child's collection that will spark new interests. Books about cooking, gardening, sports and athletes, travel and history are all good choices for growing readers.
  • Create your own story books. Encourage the writer in your child -- good writers all started out as good readers. Make up stories with your child and write them down. These homemade books are sure to become family favorites!
  • Talk about the books that you are reading -- the characters and their challenges. Use the stories as starting points for in-depth conversations with your child. Even otherwise difficult topics can be easily approached through book discussions.
  • As your child gets older, many of the books that they will enjoy may be too long to read in one evening. For longer, more complicated books, read a chapter or two each day.
  • Let your child see you reading for pleasure -- books, magazines and newspapers. Show him/her that the love of reading is a lifetime thing.
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