Thoughtful Parenting: Ready to read, ready to learn

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At a glance

Activities to complete with your child:

■ Expand your child’s vocabulary. (Example: “Yes, bird. That is a beautiful red-winged blackbird.”)

■ Speak to your child in the language you know best.

■ Sing the alphabet song to help your child learn about letters.

■ Repeat nursery rhymes to emphasize sounds in words.

■ Clap along to songs to practice syllables.

■ Read together.

■ Let your child scribble.

■ Write each other notes, and pretend you can read theirs.

■ Encourage dramatic play with stuffed animals, puppets or dress-up clothes.

■ Give plenty of unstructured play time.

■ Let your child pretend to read a book.

■ Talk and listen to your child as you prepare meals, do household chores and get ready for bed.

■ Attend a library Story-time, at 9:30 and 10:30 a.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, as well as special monthly Story-time programs.

Parents want to set up their children for success by signing them up for the right sports team, art class or summer camp. As parents, you know instinctively that the earlier you get your kids involved in something, the more likely they are to become proficient at it or find joy in it.

It’s no different with reading. Learning to read starts long before your child enters kindergarten. Children who start kindergarten ready to learn to read have greater success throughout their school years. They are more likely to read at or above grade level by the end of second grade. Children who read at or above grade level by the end of fourth grade are more likely to graduate from high school and be successful readers and learners throughout their lives.

The skills you need to give your child to get ready to read can start at birth. The great news is that you probably are preparing them without knowing it. Better yet, there’s no special club or registration fee. You are your child’s best teacher, and all the lessons are free.

The five best ways to help your child get ready to read are by talking, singing, reading, writing and playing.

Not surprisingly, reading together is the most important way to help children get ready to read. Shared reading helps children develop an interest in reading. Those who enjoy being read to are more likely to want to learn to read themselves. Adults who enjoy reading can recall many fond memories cuddled with a parent, grandparent or caregiver while listening and sharing books together. Make sure to give your child the same memories about reading, so they will grow up to look back fondly at those moments, too.

If you already practice those five skills with your child every day, great! If not, check the list for activities to complete with your child. Try to work at least one of these practices into each day for 10 to 15 minutes. These activities can be done at home, at the doctor’s office, in the car or anywhere you and your child spend time together. It’s important not to push your child. Have fun with these activities every day so your child wants to do them again and again.

Sarah Kostin is the youth services librarian at Bud Werner Memorial Library and resource partner for First Impressions of Routt County.

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