How to Read to Young Children

How to Read to Young Children

One of the best ways to develop your child’s literacy skills is to begin reading to him at birth… and earlier! Even though your child might not understand the words, their developing brain begins processing language before they are even born. Studies show that babies can learn their first lullabies in the womb.

But once your child is born, it is important for you to read regularly to her to help build her vocabulary and teach her the basics of language such as sentence structure, grammar, and more. It doesn’t matter what language you read to your baby in because once they learn the basic literacy skills in one language, they can transfer those to a second one.

The way you read to your child can enhance his learning and boost his literacy skills. Here are five thing you can do to maximize your reading time together.

Sit together in a comfortable spot.

If it is possible to create a special reading area in your home, do it! But remember, reading can take place any time and anywhere. Try to choose somewhere comfortable for both of you like the couch or a cozy chair. This lessens outside distractions and makes it easier for you both to focus on the story and the act of reading.

Read with emotion.

A great storyteller captures the mood of the story with his voice, so be animated as you read. Use different voices for different characters. Let your voice rise and fall as the story moves through exciting moments. Pause now and then to increase the suspense and make your child wonder what will happen next.

Point to the words.

Help your child learn to associate sounds with specific letters or groups of letters. By the time he starts reading, he will already recognize common words such as “the,” “an,” “he,” “she,” and many others. Pointing to words as you read will also show your child basic grammar rules, such as using a capital at the beginning of a sentence and ending it with a punctuation mark.

Look at the illustrations.

Most children’s books come with beautifull illustrations. The job of the illustrator is to accentuate the story and supplement it with additional details that the author may not include. The images may even help the reader to guess what is going to happen next. Before you turn the page, look at the illustrations together and point out details that may not have been included in the written story.

Ask questions.

Start off by looking at the cover of the book and ask your child what she thinks the story will be about. As you read, ask her questions about the characters, how she thinks they must feel, and what she thinks is going to happen next. By asking questions, you make your child an active reader and not just an observer. You’ll also be boosting her reading comprehensions skills.

Happy reading!

How to Use Incentives to Get Your Child to Read

Using incentives to get children to read is somewhat of a controversial topic. Some people feel that children should read just for the fun of it and not because they’ll get a toy or prize.

But the reality is that kids sometimes need to be encouraged to read. And we also think that their hard work should be recognized and rewarded. This is why our summer reading packets contain a printable certificate of achievement. However, we think that incentives are helpful for motivating kids to to keep reading during the summer and throughout the year.

How to Use Incentives:

First, establish a clear goal. Talk it over with your child and come up with a realistic goal together. For example, you might decide that your child will read one book a day, one a week, or 30 minutes a day. And also determine how long they’ll do this work. Will they do it for a month? Two months? All summer?

Second, use a reward chart or reading log. Reading logs and reward charts are a way to monitor your child’s progress. This is important so that you can make sure that your child is sticking to his goal. Kids also like to be able to see the progress that they are making and how close they are to meeting their goal. Our summer reading packets include printable reading logs.

Third, reward your child when she meets her goal. The most important thing is to be consistent and reward your child when she is successful and completes her work. The reward recognizes her efforts and helps to motivate her in the future.

Types of Incentives:

Incentives don’t have to be physical or expensive rewards. Be creative and think outside the box. Remember the goal is simply motivation and recognition. And we want to raise children who love to read just for pleasure. Incentives should play a temporary role; along the way your child may discover the sheer joy of reading and learn to read just for pleasure.

Here is a short list of possible incentives, but you know your child best, so choose rewards that appeal to them specifically.

  • A trip to the park
  • An extra 15 minutes at bed time
  • An extra 15 minutes to sleep in the morning!
  • A trip to the bookstore for a new book
  • A movie
  • Frozen yogurt
  • A small LEGO mystery pack
  • A trip to the museum
  • A trip to the zoo
  • A pet fish!
  • A fishing trip
  • Their favorite meal
  • A party!
  • A new toy
  • A scavenger hunt
  • A new app
  • A new computer game
  • A new bike
  • A gift card to their favorite store
  • A [fill in the blank]…..Be creative!!

35+ Ways to Keep Your Child Excited About Reading

One challenge that parents face during the summer is keeping their kids excited about reading. So we’ve put together a short list of ways to make reading fun.

Did we miss one? Feel free to share your own tricks with all of us and the other families participating in the Latino Children’s Summer Reading Program by leaving a comment below!

  1. Read with your child.
  2. Make it special and set up a comfortable reading nook just for your child.
  3. Visit the bookstore or library on a weekly basis.
  4. Translate a story!
  5. Read the book…then watch the movie. Discuss which one you liked better and why.
  6. Involve friends. Invite your child’s friends over for a book swap party.
  7. Create your own book club and meet weekly to discuss new books.
  8. Make puppets and then have your child(ren) put on a puppet show of the story for friends and family.
  9. Dress up in costumes and re-enact the story! (Who doesn’t love a good play?)
  10. Write up a book report.
  11. Help your child create a video book review!
  12. Add variety. Read books, magazines, eBooks, cookbooks, fiction, non-fiction, biographies, comic books, graphic novels, classics, action & adventure…
  13. Ask your child to write and illustrate his/her own story.
  14. Read outside.
  15. Read in the car.
  16. Download Storia.
  17. Go to the park to read!
  18. Make up different endings.
  19. Buy picture books without words and make up your own story.
  20. Use story boards.
  21. Make meals mentioned in the story.
  22. Create a felt story board.
  23. Join a summer reading program.
  24. Listen to audiobooks.
  25. Create a reward chart.
  26. Use reading logs to record their progress.
  27. Use story cubes.
  28. Use incentives (these can be physical items or simple privileges).
  29. Read aloud. Pick a book you both love and take turns reading to each other.
  30. Dress it up! Gift wrap a book you’ve carefully selected and give it to your child as a gift.
  31. Make sure your child is reading books on her level. Books that are too difficult or advanced make reading a lot less fun.
  32. Buy a fun book light at the dollar store.
  33. Bribery! (Lol!!)
  34. Give your child his own library card.
  35. Read to a pet!
  36. Read to a stuffed toy.
  37. Stay up late reading!
  38. Read to a friend.
  39. Read to Abuela or Abuelo (Grandma or Grandpa).
  40. Let your child choose the book.
  41. Find books on topics your child is interested in.
  42. Vary your child’s reading routine.