What are some ways to encourage young readers?

The most important thing to remember is that reading should be an enjoyable experience. The following activities can help you stimulate your child's interest in reading. Talk with your infant or young child before he learns to read Talking with your child before he even speaks will help him learn important language skills. Most children need strong oral language skills if they are to develop as readers and writers. Using short, simple sentences, you can talk about your daily activities, what he is seeing and doing, his environment, sizes of objects, the shapes of signs, and so forth. Read to and with your child at least 30 minutes each day Your child will gain awareness of the conventions of reading (left to right, top to bottom), and even the very young will gain vocabulary. Running your index finger under the print as you read will help your child notice that printed words have meaning. Gradually you can ask her to identify letters and sounds. Sing songs and recite poems and rhymes that have repetitive sounds Repetition makes it easier for your child to pick up on the patterns in the sounds you make. Make sure your child's day care provider, nursery school teacher, or preschool teacher reads aloud daily and offers books for your child to look at Model good reading habits Help your child understand that reading is important by letting him see you reading maps, books, recipes, and directions. Suggest reading as a free-time activity. Keep books that are of interest to your child in an easy place for him to reach. Visit your local library While you're there you can sign your child up for preschool story time and let her choose some books to take home.

(Excerpt from: Swanson, B. (1998). Encouraging Your Child To Read. Parent Brochure.)

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