There are lots of children’s developmental and educational milestones we celebrate as parents… your baby’s first steps, first words, their first day of school, learning to read. Raising your kids to love books and be lifelong readers is one of the best things you can do for them – no matter what future passion they plan to pursue. To help you raise lifelong readers, I’ve put together this great assortment of parent reading resources to help you support your pre and early readers.
Parenting Tips and Resources to Raise Lifelong Readers
For months now, my 5 year old has ended our nightly bedtime story sessions with “I can’t wait until I can read.” Last week, while reading the girls a bedtime story, it was like a lighting bolt struck – she just started reading the page. And even though it was a book we had read many times, she wasn’t just reciting by memory – she was actually sounding out words and using picture clues to figure out the words on the page.
I was so proud, and she was even prouder. Reading is one of the fundamental building blocks for learning. No matter the subject matter, reading provides a gateway to knowledge and exploration outside of the confines of your environment unlike anything else. And you don’t have to be an expert in early literacy or early childhood education to encourage a love of books and reading in your child. These tips and parent reading resources can help any parent support and develop their child’s reading skills, including a FREE 4 week trial to Reading Eggs, .
Make reading part of your child’s daily routine from the day they are born! Children, even babies, learn by watching us, and then mimicking our actions. Reading to your child everyday will not only build their vocabulary before they can even speak, it will also teach them the basics of books – like how to hold it right-side up, how to turn the page, how to read from left to right. Always start with the cover, reading the title, author and illustrator. You don’t even have to read the story – look at pictures, talk about what you see.
My mom, a retired kindergarten teacher of more than 30 years, must have said to me more times than I can count that “Children should read 1,000 books before kindergarten.” This movement was started by a not for profit organization, who has helped public libraries develop programs to support the initiative all over the country. If you read to your child from birth, that’s 3-4 books each week. If you wait until they are 3, it’s 10. Find a public library program near you at 1000 Books before Kindergarten.
Model Reading for Your Kids
Let your kids see you reading… and no, scrolling through Facebook on your smartphone in front of them doesn’t count. As a child, I remember both my parents ALWAYS had stacks of books on their nightstands. Coming home in the evenings as a teenager, I could always count on one or both of them to be sitting up in bed with a book, waiting for me to come home. Remember – children mimic your actions: let them see you enjoy reading, and they will too! Looking for your own reading action? Check out Mom’s Book Nook, our virtual book club for book loving moms.
Books As Favorite Toys
My kids LOVE books. Every night they pick a book to read for a bedtime story, and more to take to bed with them. Some of my favorite memories are of watching the kids “read” to themselves over the baby monitor while they were still in their cribs! They get books as gifts and love them as much as any of their toys. This will happen naturally if you read with them everyday from a young age, and make books readily accessible.
For children who need more encouragement to be interested in books, find books you can read together about their favorite topics. Whether they love super heroes or outer space, show them how they can learn and explore these subjects through books.
Make Regular Trips the Library
You don’t need to buy books to make books accessible and a part of your child’s everyday life. All you need to join your public library is proof or residence and an ID. My kids LOVE going to the library. When they were younger, I just let them pick whatever book they wanted. As they’ve gotten older, I ask on the way there, what kinds of books they want to find. They sit on my lap while we look up specific books or topics on the library computer catalog. And now, I’m even teaching my 5 year old how to look for the author’s name since books are alphabetized by author.
She also now makes me keep a list of books for her between trips – a girl after my own heart, she has figured out the back of the book features more books by the author. She loves to run through those and see which ones we’ve read, and add the ones we haven’t to her library list. For more ideas for your library list, check out #picturebookoftheday on Instagram, where we and 20+ of our favorite book loving friends share great book recommendations our kids love every weekday.
Bring Books to Life
We would all be bored to tears by merely reading the words on the page. Passion for books grows from letting your imagination bring the story to life. Read to your kids with drama and inflection – let them tell the story in their own words by describing what they see in the illustrations. Take your kids to story hour – they are free at your local public library, as well as Barnes & Nobles nationwide.
Let books inspire activities with your kids. You’ll notice I start all our kids’ activity series with a book list – this becomes the reference for our studies, whether we are learning about Art History, Architecture & Engineering or Studying the Stars.
Develop Early Literacy Skills, Phonetic Awareness
While exposure and love of books are great first steps to raising readers, ultimately to read independently, children need to recognize their letters and letter sounds. Reading Eggs is a great, play-based online programs that can help develop these skills in your children through interactive games and activities. Get a 4 week FREE trial and watch how quickly your child progresses. Reading Eggs is ideal for children ages 3 – 7, with additional resources to support and further develop reading skills in children ages 7-13.
You can set up multiple profiles, one for each of your children, and it will track their individual progress. When they first start, they can take a quick assessment to determine the appropriate level to begin their activities. Reading Eggs also has a math program, Math Seeds that my 5 year old has become quite taken with as well.
Since my 5 year old started reading last week, my 3 year old is hell bent on reading too… I told her we need to work on recognizing her letters first. She loves Reading Eggs too because she is learning to do just that! You can access Reading Eggs from your browser from any computer or tablet.
More Awesome Reading Resources for Parents
Helping your child learn to read and supporting the development of their early literacy skills doesn’t have to cost a lot. Some of my fellow bloggers provide amazing assets and expertise – for FREE! One of my favorites is Jodie at Growing Book by Book. She provides an endless source of book lists, early literacy activities, and even Family Dinner Book Clubs! From 100 Ways to Grow a Reader to 101 Books to Read Before Kindergarten, you will never run out of book ideas and ways to encourage your child to read.
Is reading a part of your family’s daily routine? What is your child’s favorite book these days? Check out the 4 week FREE trial of Reading Eggs, and let us know about your child’s progress. It’s been amazing to watch my girls’ progress even just after 2 weeks!
If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out all our book-inspired activities, including some of my favorites: 5 STEAM Activities with Bubble Gum and The Bubble Gum Girl and Build a Bridge for 21 Elephants – An Engineering Challenge for Preschool! You can find all of these and so many more on our Read! Read! Read! board on Pinterest!
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