“Readers aren’t born, they’re made. Desire is planted- planted by parents who work at it” -Jim Trelease
“To read with your lungs and diaphragm, with your tongue and lips, is very different than reading with your eyes alone” -Verlyn Klinkenborg (from “Some Thoughts on the Lost Art of Reading Aloud“)
A crucial step in “growing a reader” is taking time to read aloud to your child. One of my favorite books as a librarian and parent is The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease. It’s a helpful resource full of tips and suggestions, as well as opinions about education, literacy and the learning process. I am fortunate that both of my boys love books- since they are both pre-readers, we read aloud every day, throughout the day. We read in bed. We read in the car. We read in the bathroom. We read at the table. You get the idea- books can be found everywhere in the house; I can’t think of a room right now that doesn’t include a book. We read beloved favorites over and over as well as new ones from our local library (it doesn’t hurt that I work there and cannot limit myself when I see a book my kids would love). Reading together has always been a salve for my oldest son, now 3 years, when he’s upset. It helps calm him and comfort him like little else does. Both my kids are very verbal- I’d like to think that it has something to do with all those hours reading (and talking and singing too!).
Only 60% of parents with children under 5 years say they read to their children every day. Early language development and reading skills are closely connected. Reading Rockets, one of my favorite websites, has some great tips for reading aloud to children. Have a pre-schooler or kindergartener you’re reading to? Check this out. If your child is older and reading on their own, browse their list of suggestions titled “103 Things to Do Before/During/After Reading”