Reading is first and foremost a form of communication. When learning to talk, children develop the concept that words communicate thoughts, emotions, and needs. When learning to read, they develop the concept that words can be communicated visually as well as orally. In order that the printed words will have meaning for them, children must have a solid foundation in language. Mastering spoken language is a key step toward mastering written language. The more experiences children have, the more they are talked to and listened to, the more stimulation they receive….the more they will be ready to read. Parents can help their children develop the needed foundation in language by talking with them and listening to them.
- Talk with your child while doing things together: folding laundry, driving the car, cooking.
- Ask your child to sequence the events of the day at dinner or at bedtime.
- Discuss what you’ve seen on TV or read together. Ask questions: Who was your favorite character? Why? What would you have done? What do you think will happen next?
- Repeat favorite nursery rhymes and stories. If your child has memorized them, listen while the child tells them to you.
- Encourage questions and try to answer them.