The American Academy of Pediatrics recently announced policy regarding literacy promotion during preventative visits. This development isn't surprising given how much is known about the benefits of reading consistently and frequently during infancy and preschool years. Children who are read to consistently during these important early years are likely to have better language skills when they start school and have a greater interest in reading.
There are a number of ways to make story time meaningful with your infant, toddler, or preschooler, but in large part instilling early literacy skills boils down to consistency and sharing a love of books. This is where strategies such as making books accessible to children and establishing reading routines comes into play. A few of our favorite suggestions for reaching these goals include:
1) Create a book nook. Toddlers and preschoolers love to hide in small corners and create magical worlds. Promote reading habits by placing a few small books shelves in the corner of the playroom (or simply use rubbermaid containers as bins) and add a couple of floor pillows or beanbag chairs to make the space cozy and inviting. Make sure to crawl into this space with your child and take some magical story adventures.
2) Make small collections by theme. Children are learning about the world through each and every experience. One way to help young children learn how to categorize and group items/topics is through modeling. Take a small portion of your books and use bins or cardboard boxes to group books with a similar theme. Some ideas include a bin for books about animals, numbers, colors, or sports. At times it can be overwhelming for a child to select a book from the bookshelf. Providing the option to use a bookshelf and/or a bin allows for some structure in making a book selection.
3) Take a research adventure. Capitalize on your child's interest and curiosity with trips to the library. Discuss topics of interest and take advantage of the library's catalog and librarian (important resources for children to learn about) to do your own research parties. Really get into this with your child by dressing in character (create superhero names for your alter ego as a researcher!), establish your secret operation and make the adventures part of your regular routine of activities.
Reading opens to the doors to many experiences and unlocks tremendous potential as a learner. Enjoy the escape from everyday craziness as you provide consistent reading opportunities and promote healthy literacy skills along the way.
What are some of your favorite ways to support early literacy and build a love of reading?
ABOUT CHRISSY K
I am mom to three boys (one with several life-threatening food allergies) who will never own too many picture books or create Pinterest-worthy snacks. Simply Chrissy K is a place to find helpful tips on parenting that stem from my work with families as an educational consultant and parenting coach.
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