Most parents know the importance of reading with their children daily, yet many don’t have the time or choose to spend leisure time on other things. A 2013 study conducted by Reading Is Fundamental finds that only one in three parents reported reading at bedtimes every night, and 50 percent of parents say their kids spend more time watching TV or playing video games than reading books.
How do we impact the reading culture and help motivate kids to read? Start with good book selection. Here are a few tips:
Preschoolers appreciate repetition and action
When selecting books for preschoolers, keep in mind that children in this age group appreciate repetition and action. Repeating the same phrases over and over helps to stimulate your child’s working memory skills. Pictures that reflect action are also stimulating to preschoolers and provide great opportunities for questions and conversation about what’s happening in the illustration.
Find books your child is interested in
Dedicate time to finding books that are connected to the things your child is interested in -- NBA players, action heroes, even Legos. When your child is interested in the book content and storyline, they are more likely to spend time paying attention to the book. Check out this guide from PBS Parents for book ideas.
Select books your child can understand
Some adult book classics that fall in the children’s literature category can be challenging to understand and, in some cases, even dark. It’s important to be thoughtful about the books you and your child select and try to make sure the content and storyline makes sense to your child. Reading comprehension skills are fostered through understanding the storyline and reading on a regular basis.
Select books that are relevant to your child’s identity
How does your child identify him or herself? How does your family identify itself? What are your values? Depending on your child’s age, they may have something special that they are beginning to identify with or that your family identifies with and they are adopting. To help kids value reading, it’s helpful to provide books where they can see themselves on the pages.
There are so many benefits to supporting your child’s literacy. Promoting a daily reading habit is part of fostering great early literacy skills. Whether you read to your child or your child reads to you, make time to read with your child every day. Parents and caregivers: Visit www.BibtoBackpack.org for more United Way for Southeastern Michigan early development resources and tools to support your child’s first teacher: you!