Reading serves two purposes in our family -one it ties our children to the world around them and the second it serves as a chance to connect. Ever since the kids were little, we encouraged them to look at books, magazines, newspapers, signs, labels. We made sure they are aware of environmental print. Environmental print is the print of everyday life like logos, billboards, signs, labels that children see in their environment.
So what can you do to promote reading at home? Inspired by the post 100 Ways to Play by the Boston Children's Museum I will start a series of 100 Ways We Read To Our Children and this is part 1. Hopefully this can start off building on Family Literacy in Practice (F.L.I.P.) at your homes.
1) Model. Teach by example and show to your child that you also value reading. As a parent when was the last time that you held a book that got you captivated and engaged? How many books have you read for the past few months? Does your child see you reading it?
2) Plan the environment and make books accessible. Do kids have access to books? Where are books located? Do you have it handy for when out and about with your child?
3) Choose books wisely. Reading Rockets have an extensive list of award giving bodies and organizations that focuses on the "best of the best" children's books.
4) Choose books according to your child's development. Reach Out and Read offers a one-page pdf on "What Children Like in Books" which is a simple guide to the kind of books that are suitable for children at different ages.
5) Turn off the tube and read. Limit television or other technological devices and allot specific time for reading to the kids. But if you are going to incorporate technology with reading check out these wonderful sites:
Leading to Reading from Reading is Fundamental
International Children's Reading Library where you can find books in different languages
Raz Kids is a paid subscription to 400+ leveled ebooks.
(More resources to add on soon! :))
6) Develop a daily routine. Put reading as one of the highlights of the day.
7) Snuggle up with a book. Connect and at the same time create reading moments by snuggling with a book with your child.
8) Gauge your child's interest. Reading specially for younger age group needs to be a fun experience. Take it from your child to know if the book holds their interest or not. Remember, a story doesn't have to end in one sitting and can be continued at another time.
9) Ask powerful questions. Use thinking routines before, during and after reading. Simple thinking routines such as " colors-shapes-lines" can already give you valuable information on what your child notices and knows.
10) Build on from your child's background knowledge. Research supports the fact that what students already know about a content or their background knowledge is one of the strongest indicators of how well they will learn new information relative to that content given. Hence emphasis is placed on understanding children's background knowledge and building their learning from there. Reading offers opportunities to understand your child's background knowledge. Choose books according to themes and use thinking routines such as "what makes you say that?" to get ideas on what they know.
Here's a one-page file of the first 10 Ways We Read to Children. Just right click to copy and save the image.