We can all agree that reading to your child is beneficial. We’ve all seen the infographics on social media and answered the survey questions at the Pediatrician’s office. I have even noticed that my school aged children are assigned 20-30 minutes of reading as homework instead of traditional worksheets. Reading to/with your child daily is a task that easily falls to the wayside as our time is already very limited.
Why is Early Childhood Literacy Important?
Children need a foundation in their understanding of books;
- The orientation of books
- Pages are turned in an order
- Words are grouped into sentences and read top-bottom/ left to right
- Words tell the story and the pictures explain the words
In your lap as you are reading to them, they are building on their vocabulary, language, processing and also building stamina to their attention span.
Before children can become readers, they need to master what are called Pre-Reading Skills;
*Image above shared from Nemour’s Children’s Reading Bright Start. I highly reccommend this resource as it breaks down reading skills by age and has lots of helpful tips!
- Birth to 5 months
- 6 to 11 months
- 12 to 17 months
- 18 to 23 months
- 24 to 35 months
Finding The Time
For many families, the problem isn’t a lack of understanding its importance but rather a lack of time. Between work, after school schedules and mangaging multiple children, the struggle for 15 minutes a day to devote to reading with your child(ren) can be overwhelming. If this isn’t already a part of your day then give youself some grace. It’s never too late to start!
Here are a list of ideas to help make this a priority in your day;
- Put it into a routine you already have like while they play in the bath or after getting dressed for the day.
- Make it fun! Enroll in the Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library’s 1000 Books Before Kindergarten. They provide a booklet to track your reading and incentives for your car.
- Let your child choose the books that interest them then it doesn’t have to be a struggle to hold their attention. It’s okay to slowly build upon their stamina. Not all picture books are made equal. The length of the story and the number of words on the page should gradually increase as your child’s patience to sit through a story grows.
- Pack a carry-along bag for the car and when you have a few minutes (like waiting in the pick-up line or at a siblings team practice) you can share a book.
- Outsource the job. On busy nights, ask an older sibling or a neighbor to fill in. Many book read alouds can be found online. Teach your child to turn the page at the chime and they can follow along while you are tackling a task. The EVPL also has a huge resource of audio books to choose from!
- Make books available and eye level with your child. It’s really hard to pass up reading to your child when they’re bringing you their favorite and asking so sweetly.
Give yourself permission to value consistency over perfection. It’s about creating a positive experience with books rather than a daily quota.