Your role in developing kids’ interest in reading is pretty obvious, according to Julie Rodriguez, who is the Vice President Of Literary Services for Reading Is Fundamental, the country’s largest nonprofit devoted to promoting reading to young kids.
“I don’t even remember him not reading to me,” Rodriguez says of her own father, who she credits with getting her hooked early with Mark Twain books. “I know someone whose dad read baseball stats with his child. Share what you love, and increase their vocabulary.”
And the good news is that if you read (and clearly you do), the battle is half won. To win the other half, here are few other tips.
It’s never too soon to start reading to your kid. Apply these reading tips you’ll someday hear in parent/teacher conferences,
Rodriguez’s 3 kids could each read before kindergarten, and she attributes it to putting “miles on the page” with them on their favorite books: “They just need to hear it over and over again, point to the word, and have that access. It’s OK to read the same book 5,000 times.” Mind numbing and torturous for you, but OK.
Reserve a couple nights every week to put down the picture book you’ve read 5,000 times in favor of a classic you love. For Rodriguez’s dad, that meant not just Mark Twain, but Jack London and John Steinbeck and Ernest Hemingway. “They were far above what my little 6- or 5-year-old brain could handle, but I loved listening to him read it and that shared experience.”
Rodriguez gives the example of A Balloon For Isabel about a forlorn porcupine who can’t get a balloon like the other kids because she’ll pop it, so Isabel solves the problem by putting gumdrops on her quills. Rodriguez created an entire lesson plan around balloon science experiments, but even if you just use the book as an excuse to stick gumdrops on toothpicks with your kid (and then eat them), you’ll be strengthening their connection to the book.
If Rodriguez was a gambler, she would put her money on any kid loving these 5 books:
But, mostly, you just need to make sure you kid sees a page at least as often as they see a screen. And talk funny when you read to them. Do that enough, and it should be smooth sailing.
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