Tuesday, December 12, 2006

A bit more on reading

I know many of the moms reading this have children who may be getting ready to read. Reading is such a treasure to me that I remember when I learned how to do it... my whole world opened up and seldom was I seen without a book in hand. It can seem a daunting task for moms I'm sure: "What method should I use? How often should we be working on it? How can I get my kid interested..." etc.

I've been researching a LOT on this topic because I'm so eager for my son to start reading. So while I'm no expert (indeed, I invite the moms who've been through this already to share their experiences), I ran across a couple of things that I think worth sharing.

We are blessed to have so many beautifully illustrated kids' books available to us today. This wasn't the case 50 years ago when printing was more expensive and less efficient. At the library, if you are anything like me, we often look for lots of pictures and few words because I assumed kids like pictures more and don't have the attention span for too much story. Now my kids can often be found browsing through books alone on the couch "reading" to themselves. The pictures have gotten so good at telling the stories nowadays that kids sometimes aren't much interested in the printed words! How do we encourage an interest in reading? Expose them to lots and lots of words! Leave newspapers on the table. Let them look at YOUR books if they're careful (which I used to have off limits). Most importantly, read to them out of longer story books with few pictures and lots of words. We have a few of these older story books: our favorite is a Paul Bunyan chronicle that has pictures ever 3 pages or so. Kids will soon learn that important stuff can be acquired from all those words! Picture books are wonderful and healthy... but don't be afraid to try out some of the bigger readers to your children.

I'm at the point with my four-year-old where I don't think I should push him into reading, but we are having fun exploring words together. We play a "game" where he says any word he wants and watches me write it. And I point out similar endings or rhymes, etc. Or he'll ask me what letter something looks like if he sees a shape in nature or the house. And I'll sometimes just pick up the newspaper and read parts of it to him... he is starting to realize that people WRITE about things happening in the world.

Anyway, just a few thoughts on the power of PRINT! And I encourage you to explore this link a reader sent us to her nonprofit literacy site: www.WordsAhead.org

-Ellie: Oak Harbor, WA


one of us :: 8:24 AM :: 2 Comments