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Guest post by Mary Gallagher, author of Teach a Child to Read with Children’s Books.
The framed print that sits on my desk features a little girl reading to her dog. The caption summarizes how to help children become better readers: “Read, read more, read more often.”
As a reading specialist and literacy coach, I am often asked what to do to make sure a child is ready to read.
My reply is always the same, “Read to them, everyday, often, whatever they like, and give them associations with reading that are enjoyable and positive.”
It is such simple advice. Many parents think I am not telling them everything. I can certainly understand their concerns. There is increasing pressure on children and parents to be “ready to read,” or “school ready” by the time they are enter kindergarten, sometimes even pre-school!
Still, the research is clear: “The most important activity for building the knowledge and skills eventually required for reading is that of reading aloud to children. In this, both the sheer amount of and the choice of reading materials seems to make a difference.” (Adams, 1990, p.86)
Mem Fox, author of Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to Our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever, calls it “reading magic,” and while it may seem like magic, important processes are taking place when one reads to a child, not the least of which is developing a love for reading and books.
Jim Trelease, author of The Read-Aloud Handbook is an advocate and resource to parents. He believes that reading aloud is the most powerful tool all parents can utilize.
Adapted from chapter 3 of my book, Teach a Child to Read with Children’s Books, the following tips can get you started with a read-aloud routine in your home:
Thanks for this great post, Mary!
Mary Gallagher is a reading specialist and literacy coach for a public eSchool and co-author of the book: Teach a Child to Read With Children’s Books (New Learning Concepts.) You can read more about her book and reading with young children on her website: www.teachachildtoread.net .
What is more important than children reading? Imagination Soup’s Melissa Taylor wrote Book Love to give parents of kids ages three to ten engaging, playful, out-of-the box ideas for learning to read and reluctant readers. Book Love also includes: