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10 Ways to Promote Reading Skill Development

01/28/2018 04:25PM ● Published by Digital Media Director

By: SanfordHealth

Children begin to learn reading skills long before they can actually read printed words. Babies as young as six weeks old can enjoy being read to and looking at pictures. Sometime between the ages of two and three children develop an awareness of printed letters and words.

Learning reading skills is closely linked to a child’s earliest interactions with books and stories. The preschool years (ages 3-5 years old) are an important time to set the foundation for a child’s future reading skills.

Parents don’t have to be good readers to give their children a strong start in reading. Here are 10 simple ways to encourage your child’s reading development.

Create conversations

Don’t just read the words to your child, also talk about the pictures and characters in the story.

Read together

Reading books together will help develop your child’s basic reading skills. When reading with your child, track the words with your finger as you read. Try encouraging your child to say stop whenever you come to a period.

Be a role model

Be enthusiastic when you spend time reading with your child. This will encourage him to see reading as a fun and rewarding activity.

Choose interesting books

Look for books about topics your child has already expressed interest in. Explore the children’s section at a bookstore or library and let your child choose some books that grab his or her attention.

Have reading materials in your home

Have children’s magazines and books easily available to your child. He’ll be more likely to pick up print materials to read when they’re in sight around the house.                                       

Let your child read to you

Have your child read her favorite story to you. At this age, she can’t read the words but she should be able to narrate the pictures or remember some of the words if you have read the book to her several times before.

Limit TV time

Watching less television will open up time for your child to read instead. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents of children 18 to 24 months of age who want to introduce digital media should choose high-quality programming, and watch it with their children to help them understand what they're seeing.

Make reading an adventure

Build a reading fort by tossing a sheet over a table and then reading by flashlight.

Pack a book bag

Pack a book bag for times when you and your child are waiting for appointments or traveling.

Relax and get comfortable

Make reading time cozy by relaxing someplace where your child can rest into pillows or snuggle his or her favorite stuffed animal.

Take time to read to your child today. It’s never too early – or too late – to start reading with your preschooler. 

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