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Saturday, January 17, 2009

Reading Part 1

Being able to read is fundamental to sucess in today's society and acquiring early reading skills should, above all, be fun for your child. It's one thing to be able to teach a child to read, but it's quite another to teach a child to love reading. Early reading therefore doesn't just involve teaching your child to recognize letters, sound out words and put them into sentences, but must also be concerned with fostering a love of books, words and the written language. Here are some ways to nurture such a love:

Be selective - For very early reading choose books with large, clear, bright and cheerful illustrations and short, simple text. Many toddlers prefer rhyming books as they love the rhythms in poetry, but now is also a good time to start introducing some very simple stories in prose. I recommend Dr Seus! It's a great fun reading.
Be persistent - Many toddlers do nothing but wriggle the first time they're read to, but persistence is usually rewarded. Introduce a regular story time, bedtime is the traditional favorite, but if you have time in the morning a cuddly reading session in bed can be nice too.
Be creative - You know what interests and attracts your child better than the book's author. So don't feel you have to read the words exactly as they're written. Allowing your imagination to improvise along the way can greatly increase your child's enjoyment of the story and help encourage early reading. Act out the scenes from the book.
Be interactive - Long before your child is able to read, they can join in the reading process. Ask them to point out the various characters in the illustrations as you go along, or later get them to fill in some blanks in sentences or rhymes in books they're familiar with. As they get older try asking them questions like, "What do you think will happen next?" Participation is part of the fun experience that early reading should be - your child loves to have your attention and will actively look forward to these sessions together.

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