Habits. How many habits, bad or good, do you have? Our days are made up of habits.
Reading together is a habit builder. When you read a book every night, it becomes part of your nightly routine. Get excited to do this and look forward to this special time; your child will reflect your energy and also look forward to it. Down the line, reading will become part of your child’s rhythm as they venture into quiet time before bed.
But reading doesn’t have to be just at night; we all know this but need the reminders. Although nighttime is perfect for sitting together to read, and it creates a wonderful wind-down activity, we also want to make sure we engage our children with books when they (and we) are alert and awake. Consider reading at different times of the day, and in different environments. Tips on how to do this are posted.
While you are developing these habits in your child, make sure that you are doing so in an appropriate manner. For example, setting aside special reading time that is relaxed, quiet, and not rushed will be important. Don’t try to squeeze a read aloud in when you have two other children playing loudly in the background or pulling on your shirt. If you can’t give the read aloud your full attention, then don’t do it at that moment. Remember this: the circumstances under which you read will be your child’s association to reading. Rushed, unfocused time = a child who looks at reading as a rushed, unfocused exercise.
When your child gets used to reading books with you each day, the independent reading that starts to take place in kindergarten and first grade won’t seem so daunting. They will see reading as something that is a routine, and may find the independent reading a grown up activity that they now get to do alone.
Once your child does start to read independently, it is really important to keep reading aloud to them. Keep this up as long as they will let you. Keep this up for fluency, comprehension, vocabulary acquisition and good ol’ quality time.
- Make reading a routine
- Read at different times of the day
- Read in a quiet, relaxed environment
- Give reading with your child your full attention