The Road to Reading
You could say a baby starts on the road to becoming a reader the day she is born. Right away she hears sounds and sees movements. Every time you speak to her, sing to her, and respond to the sounds she makes, you strengthen her interest in language. With you and others there to guide her, she is on her way to becoming a reader.
Reading is an important part of language. In fact, you might think of language as a four-legged stool. The four legs are talking, listening, reading, and writing. All four legs are important; each helps support and balance the others.
From Infancy to Age 6
The most important years for learning the skills they will need to become readers is infancy to age 6. During this period parents can help their children learn these pre-reading skills by:
- talking with their child
- reading aloud with their child
- helping their child learn about printed words and what they mean
- showing their child that they value reading
- doing other activities at home that encourage reading
Beginning to Read
Children become readers step by step. By the time they are seven years old, most have begun to read. Some take longer than others, and some need extra help. But with the right kind of help in the early years of life, most of the reading difficulties that might arise later in life can be prevented.
As a parent, you are your child's first and most important teacher. And you don't need to be the best reader to help her. Your time and interest and the pleasure you share while reading together are what counts.
Here are steps you can take to start your child on her way to becoming a reader. It is an adventure you will not want to miss, and the benefits for your child will last a lifetime.
Ideas for Children Ages 2 to 6
- What Happens Next? Raise a Reader with Predictable Books
- Rhyme with Me: It's Fun, You'll See
- Take a Bow!
- Write On!
Source: U.S. Depart of Education. Adapted and reprinted from "Helping Your Child Become a Reader," which is part of a series aimed at helping families participate in their children's learning. By Andrea DeBruin-Parecki with Kathryn Perkinson and Lance Ferderer.
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