As research indicates children are very sensitive beings who come into this world ready to learn. As you watch an infant develop into a toddler it is at times amazing what they discover and the joy it brings them. Children are curious, enthusiastic, and energetic. As parents and grandparents and caretakers it is our duty to open the doors to the world of literature. I don’t know any infant or toddler that has not shown an interest in books especially colorful board books. They flip the pages, pretend to read if that is what they have seen done and yes they may get bored and throw it but such is their attention spans.
From infancy you can read nursery rhymes and introduce them to the language or languages orally, you can show them pictures and make the connections between words and a visual object. This in turn leads to them having an understanding that the abc’s that they sing are make specific sounds and are strung together to make words. And as they further their knowledge these words become sentences which become stories that are informative and entertaining. They can memorize these stories, they can talk about these stories, they can make up their own stories. As students and adults they can pick books based on their interests and be taken to worlds by virtue of reading.
As a parent, I know we have so much responsibility in and outside of the home we don’t take the time to read to our children and encourage them to read. Take 15 minutes and read to your child. As you read the paper or a book share the comics with them or have them “read” or look at pictures in a child friendly magazine. It is important to be a model for your children and show them that you enjoy it and it is important as a productive member of society to read about local and world news.
Speak to your child’s teacher and make sure they are obtaining the necessary literacy skills of decoding, fluency and comprehension at age and grade appropriate levels. Have a library of books and magazines in your home for your child. Play games such as scrabble, pictionary, hangman, word finds and crossword puzzles. If a child is interested in a television show, movie or cartoon character obtain reading materials related to these.
A child’s ability to read and comprehend affects performance in every subject area so a little attention to this can go along way in school and life long success.