The Magic of Reading
Developed by the National Latino Children's Institute
Books open the world. In a book, a child can imagine, learn, laugh, and explore faraway places. The time spent reading together is a special time for parents and children, a quiet retreat from the rush of everyday life. Reading with your children will also help them to do better in school They'll learn to love reading and how to use books to learn new things.
Some ideas for making reading fun:
Read to your children every chance you have: magazines, books, signs on the road, labels at the grocery store. Point out colors and shapes. You are building your child's vocabulary every time you talk to him or her.
Choose books that interest your children and that you enjoy reading. What do they like to do? Do they like books about buildings? Trucks? Adventures? Animals? Build on their interests.
If you're bored with the story, your child may be, too. You want to read your children terrific storiesstories that they'll love, that have words they'll love, and that will help them grow to love words, stories, and, eventually, reading.
Find a cozy spot to read the storya place where your child feels comfortable. Turn off the radio or television so that everyone can concentrate on the story. Sit close together.
Point out interesting pictures in the book. Ask questions such as "What color is that train? How many dogs do you see? Does that look like our kitchen? What's different?"
Read expressively. You won't sound silly if you read with feeling. Use different voices for characters, get quiet when it's suspenseful, read with a giggle when it's funny. Children are more interested when you bring the story to life. Imagine what each character would sound like: high squeaky voice, quiet and raspy, or maybe a booming voice. Have fun reading!
Let your child hold the book and turn the pages if she/he wants to. Especially for very young children, the concept of the book itself is as interesting as the story. Teach them how to treat a book gently and with love. I Show them how to turn the pages, how to hold the book. Let them feel the thick pages of a board book pull the tags and flaps in a lift the flap book. When they turn the pages, they discover how a book "works."
For very young children, you might try reading books with colorful pictures and just a few words. Often babies and toddlers just want to turn the pages and see what comes next. They also like to feel different textures: a soft bunny or a scratchy surface.
Every moment is a good time to readand read as often as you can. There's no "right" time to do it, and you can't read to your child too much. It also helps, though, to have a time of day that you usually read together. Children appreciate the routine of life; it helps them feel secure. Reading together at a regular time (before bed, first thing in the morning, before napwhatever fits into your schedule: is one way to reinforce that.
Stop at interesting points in the story and ask questions. "What do you think will happen next? What would you do?" Help your children relate the story to their own experiences: "Have you ever felt that way?" Listening to your children helps to build their self-esteem.
If there isn't a book to read, tell your child a story! Children love to hear stories of their parents' growing-up years.
Some books to enjoy with your children: