Do you think reading is fun? I do! Growing up I was not the athlete, but I definitely was the reader. Whenever I had the opportunity you would see me sitting in an overstuffed chair reading a book.
One of my dreams for Ryan was that he would enjoy reading as well. When Ryan was a newborn I read “How Much Do I Love You” to him at least once a day. From there we moved on to the classics, “Is Your Momma A Llama” and “Goodnight Moon,” to name a few.
Twenty years ago we did not have the research that we have today that tells us reading is the single most important thing that a parent can do to help their child acquire language and prepare their child for school. In fact, today we know that reading with your child should start at birth. When a child is born the brain is not completely developed and will continue to develop over the first year of life. Reading to an infant helps create brain pathways and lays the groundwork for language development.
When we read to a child, he/she is not only being exposed to words on a page, but is also learning critical language and enunciation skills. As a child listens to someone reading, there is increased activity in the language output center in his/her brain as they are trying to store the spoken words into their memory. Reading aloud builds the language skills that are essential for later success in learning to read.
Reading also strengthens the bond between parent and child. When the parent is excited to read, the child is excited to listen and research shows that reading to a child makes learning and achieving in school easier.
So, how do you incorporate reading into your busy schedule? Today it is easier than ever with technology. Books are available with the touch of a button. Libraries rent eBooks, iPads have apps that make reading fun and researchers are creating wearable and interactive books.
- iPad apps: 7 Little Words for Kids, Word Puzzles, Rhyming Words, Comics Head, Poetry Magnets
- Get Blogging: this is a great way to stay connected with family and friends. Have your child write, proof read, pick out pictures to use, etc.
- Create a Family and Friends Newspaper: look at a newspaper and online newspapers to get ideas and then have your child create his/her own newspaper article (iWork app)
- Talk with Teachers, Family and Friends: set up reading groups, book clubs. Share books, apps and creative ideas.
- Celebrate Library Lovers Month: February is Library Lovers Month and many libraries are celebrating with a variety of activities.
I encourage you to find different books and reading activities to do with your child. I would also love to hear how you incorporate reading into your daily life and any suggestions you have to help other busy parents.