November is National Family Literacy Month!
Research continues to show that language and reading skills developed at a young age are the strongest predictors of adult health status in our children. That’s right, children’s reading skills are not only attributed to school success and career openings but also lower stress levels and healthy brain function! As parents, caregivers, and educators, we must realize that the responsibility of developing healthy reading habits that naturally grow into a love for literacy fall on us. Take some time this month to update your family library and explore some new ways to encourage your Phoenix preschooler to fall in love with reading!
How does reading effect infant, toddler and preschool age children?
When sitting down to read a book we give children the opportunity to make choices (what they want to read, where they want to sit, etc) practice concentration and use impulse control. For example, when reading to a baby or young toddler, we choose short books with bright colors and pictures, things that will draw their attention. We help them interact with each page but aren’t surprise when their short attention spans don’t allow them to stay in one spot or sit still long enough to complete an entire book.
As children regularly get opportunities to practice these skills we see them learn to sit longer (a typical rule of thumb for attention spans is one minute per child’s age) and focus on what’s happening in the book. Preschoolers, once having mastered these skills may even begin to use their imaginations to predict future storylines in the book.
Reading books gives children (and adults) the chance to hear and repeat words they may not have heard before. When exploring these new words they not only broaden their vocabularies but also begin to better understand beginning phonics and letter sounds. These regular reading experiences result in children with higher IQ scores and earlier abilities to have back and forth conversations with their peers and adults.
Five easy ways to celebrate literacy with your child, today!
As children grow their home library must follow! Updating your family library doesn’t have to be expensive, host a book swap event with other families in your area or check your local goodwill and resale shops!
Use time in the car as an opportunity to introduce your child to new language and vocabulary by listening to an audio book! Audio books can be streamed or downloaded to play right from your phone or you can pick them up at your local library!
Little Free Libraries are located across the Nation and serve as a great way to teach your child about the importance of community while also discovering new literature! You can find a Little Free Library near you by visiting their website – for local Phoenix families, check out #littlefreelibraryatvcclc!
A great way to fall in love with literature is to get to know the people behind the books you’re reading. As your child build a collection of favorite books or topics, take some time to learn about the author, where they came from and what inspired them to write.
For a whole family experience, set aside some time each day to develop characters and a story line to your own book. By combining each family member’s different ideas, you’ll not only encourage your child’s imagination but allow also allow them to be a part of a very special collaboration resulting in a lasting memory.
As parents, caregivers, teachers and leaders of young children we posess the strongest tool for raising children who love to read – our example. By setting aside a designated reading time each day, allowing children to choose their own books and helping them find reading materials related to topics they are interested in we can lead by example and help children discover the exciting world of reading!
Do you set aside time to read together with your child each day?