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Guest blog post provided by Kim Ellison of MakingReaders.com
Parents, did you know that it is part of your job as a parent to foster a love (or even a liking) of reading within your child?
Wait, What? It’s a Parent’s Job to Foster a Love of Reading?
Yes, I speak the truth to all of you parents out there. The love of reading, the curiosity about being a reader and desire to become a reader starts at home. This may feel a bit overwhelming to a parent who is not a teacher or a parent who never really liked to read themselves or even to a parent who struggled to learn to read as a child. The best part of being your child’s first teacher is that you can leave your own negative reading experiences behind and start fresh with your child.
Why Do Parents Have Be The Ones to Foster the Love of Reading At Home?
Parents who are reading this may now be asking themselves, why THEY should be the ones fostering the love of reading to their child at home. Isn’t that the job of their child’s kindergarten teacher? The hard reality is that by the time your child starts kindergarten, if they have not had any exposure to text or concepts of print, they will be very late to the game. Both pre-k and kindergarten teachers are now seeing more and more students coming in with the knowledge of letters and letter sounds already.
Trust me, most of your child’s teachers will do their best to help foster a love of reading with your child. However, the reality is that teachers are only with your child for about 6 hours a day. Only about an hour of that day is devoted to reading instruction and/or read-aloud time. Another secret teachers know is that the best students are the ones whose parents support their reading ability at home whether they are practicing their letters and letter sounds or reading books together.
What are the Best Ways to Foster the Love of Reading at Home?
1. Be sure to start young! I introduced books to my oldest child when she was only 3 months old. I read to her while she played with the books. As she got closer to a year old, she liked to hold the books. By the age of two, she was “reading to me” also known as memorizing the book and pretending to read it to me. All of these are pre-reading skills that lead to a strong reader.
2. Play reading games. This is a great way to incorporate literacy activities because your child will have no idea that they are learning to read or even reading at all. They will think they are playing! Some examples are:
3. Fill your home with print. Put magnetic letters on the fridge, label the objects around the house (put the word “door” on the door, etc.), have bookshelves full of books and maybe even leave your child notes. You could leave a post-it note to them on their bedroom or bathroom mirror or even in their lunchbox.
4. Make sure your child sees you reading. This can be either reading a book or a magazine, reading online or even reading a recipe. This simple act leads to your child to seeing you as a reader. Parents are their child’s first role model. Be a reading role model!
What are the benefits of fostering the love of reading with your child?
According to Emilie Buchwald, “children are made readers on the laps of their parents.” This statement is undeniably true. Reading with your child is a time for bonding, cuddling and sharing the love of a story or the excitement of learning some fun facts about your child’s favorite topic.
Among educators, there is a common saying “the more you read, the better you will be at it.” This is just like when children are learning to ride their bikes without training wheels. The more they practice riding without training wheels, the better they will be at it.
Finally, when you are reading with your child, it is not seen by them by something they have to do like when they are in school, it will be something they want to do.
Kim Ellison of MakingReaders.com is a passionate advocate for literacy who enjoys all aspects of reading and dedicates her time to helping struggling readers improve. She engages with the field through podcasts, blogs, and professional literature, aiming to share her insights on her website, supporting parents, teachers, and reading specialists. After changing careers to teaching at 35, she earned her master's degrees in literacy and childhood education, persevered through the challenges of securing a teaching role, and became a Reading Specialist while raising her children to be proficient readers. Kim's journey is marked by her commitment to education and the literacy growth of her students and her own family.
Have you found any fun or creative ways to introduce reading to your little ones?
What's your favorite reading game or activity to play with your kids?
How do you incorporate reading into your daily routine at home?
Do you have any tips for making reading as exciting as playtime for children?
What books or games sparked your own love for reading as a child?
How do you model reading for your kids?
Please take a moment to share your comments below.
Your thoughts and ideas are always welcome and appreciated.