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Wednesday, 11 January 2006 00:00

How can parents encourage their children to read?

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• Read with your child everyday. Make it part of the daily routine.

• Point to the words on the page to show your toddler you are reading words rather than making up a story.

• Let your child see you reading. Be a good model (showing how one handles a book with care, turns pages, etc.). This reinforces the idea that reading is important.

• Create cozy spaces where your child can read and feel comfortable reading.

• As you talk with your child, add more detail to what he or she says. Add new vocabulary words to the conversations. Research shows that children who have larger vocabularies become better readers.

• Find out what subjects your child enjoys reading. Build on that early interest by reading books about familiar or interesting subjects.

• Pay attention when your child talks. Allow your child opportunities to practice telling stories, including details, and understanding the progression of how stories are told. This develops storytelling and reading comprehension skills.

• Point out letters, words and signs. Play word games. Write letters and words with crayons or markers. Mold letters from clay, or play with word or letter magnets to build familiarity with sounds, letters and words.

• Break down words into parts that connect together like “hot” and “dog” or “cow” and “boy.” Piece together words using the different sounds that make up a word. Make up silly, nonsense words and rhymes. This helps children see the parts of a word in a playful experience.

• Sing songs. Make rhymes. Read poems together. This builds connections between similar sounding words, which can improve vocabulary through playful repetition.

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