It is often said the parents are the first teachers. This is true. The most important lessons are taught in the home. Values, responsibility, and behavior are taught beginning at an early age. We don’t learning these things all at once. We learn them over time. For example, a child usually begins talking by saying one word such as “Mama” or “Dada”.
As the child grows and develops, one word becomes two. Two words eventually become sentences. Reading is a process. It includes speaking, reading writing, and thinking.
All children experience these things at home. They see you. They watch what you do. So parents are involved in reading from the get go.
How can parents enhance this natural process? Most parents read to their child; however, we can do so much more.
Picture walks- Discuss the pictures in the book prior to reading. See what information the child can learn just by looking.
Daily tasks- Involve children in writing of grocery lists, to do lists, thank you cards, and other correspondence. Writing and editing skills can be demonstrated here.
Discussions- Talk about what happened during the day, what was read in a story or newspaper, or what happened in a movie or television show. This can promote critical thinking and summarizing skills.
Involve all forms of literacy- Reading doesn’t just have to involve a book. We read instructions, the back of a cereal box, and e-mail. Getting a child involved in reading and demonstrating the purpose of it can be a valuable tool.
Don’t forget the fact that children also learn by imitating their parents. If you read you are setting a great example.