Great Ideas for Family Reading Activities
Start building your child's reading skills at home
Parents are a child's first teacher. Babies and toddlers learn a lot at home. There are simple things you can do around the house that will help your children develop into readers and writers. Talk, talk, talk! Your child will learn about spoken words just from listening to you.
Read to your child.
Share books you loved and try some new ones from the library. Reread favorites over and over again! Point out interesting words as you read. Help your child understand that the squiggles on the page have meaning.
Talk about books.
Retell exciting stories at the dinner table. Encourage your child to share his favorite parts. Connect what kids already know to what they hear or read. This helps your children understand more about the world around them.
Write for a purpose.
As you're writing your grocery list or a thank you note, share your work with your child. Don't be surprised if she asks to borrow the pencil! What is so good about reading to children?
Reading to your child is the single most valuable thing you can do. Why?
• it gives experience of different types of language, rhythms and sounds
• research shows that pre-school children who are exposed to plenty of language (books and
conversation) tend to do better at school
• it teaches about many topics which wouldn't come up in conversation
• it is a wonderful way to bond with your child
• it is very calming
Make Reading FUN!
Reading, and education in general, are serious matters, but they are only meant to be serious for teachers and parents. If something isn't fun, children won't do it.
If your child doesn't enjoy it, he won't try. If he finds it hard, he will think he is not good at it. Your job is to make it FUN and EASY.
I'm Not Good at Reading Aloud
You really don't have to be good at it. Read very slowly - that's better for your child anyway as he'll be able to hear the words more clearly.
How to Read
First, be comfortable, cozy and relaxed - both of you.
To babies and toddlers up to 2 years
• point at pictures and say or ask names of things (depending on age)
• use a slow sing-song voice
• use different voices for different characters - be entertaining
• spend time talking about the pictures before turning the page
• say a name and ask your older baby or toddler to point to the item
• give huge praise each time your child points at and names an object
For 2-4 year-olds
• give your child time to look at the pictures before you read
• ask, "Where's the...?" "What's that called?" "What's she doing?"
• always follow text with your finger as you read
• with familiar stories, see if your child can join in or finish phrases
• ask questions like: "Why did he do that?" "What happens next?"
• discuss things you both liked/didn't like and why
For 4 year-olds and over
• as for 2-4 year olds
• ask your child if he can remember the order of events in the story
• try paired reading (sometimes called shared reading)
Let your child see that reading is part of your life. Do you have books and newspapers in the house?