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Reading Tips for Parents of Preschoolers

By Charles Hopkins Published 05/27/2007 | Education

Inspiring your child to read could be the single most important thing you can do to help him succeed in school. Stories are an excellent way to stimulate the mind and expand the imagination for all of us.

Starting early with your child is the key to a life-long passion for the written word. Use the tips below and watch your child develop into a proficient reader.

Read Together Every Day

Read to your child everyday with different voice tones. Sometimes you can be fun, crazy, and exciting, other times be serious and intriguing. Even if your child does not understand all the words, you are making reading fun and interesting!

Have Your Child Read to You

Make this a warm loving time where your child feels safe to make mistakes. Have your child repeat after you. Start with simple phrases and words and move forward as your child progresses.

Show How Much You Love to Read

Tell your child that you need a certain amount of time every day to read by yourself. "This is my time," tell her. This shows how much you enjoy reading. Research shows that 55% of communication is body language, 38% tone of voice, and only 7% the content. If you are reading and enjoying it, your child is more likely to model that behavior. You may even find your child picking up your books and pretending to read.

Get Excited About Reading With Your Child

Throughout the day tell your child how much you are looking forward to "Story Time!" Remember the percentages of communication above.

Know When to Stop

Little by little is the key. Reading should be fun time. If your child is losing interest, put the book away for a while. If reading time is not surrounded by positive feelings then negative feelings will emerge. It is very difficult to re-establish the fun in reading when apprehension surfaces.

Talk About Writing

Ask your child what she thinks it would be like to write a book like the ones she loves. Mention to her how it's interesting how we read from left to right and how the text is separated by spaces, commas, and paragraphs.

Point Out Words Everywhere

Talk about written words you see in your community: road signs, advertisements, bumper stickers, and grocery stores. Challenge your child to find at least two new words on each outing. Then celebrate her discoveries with positive body language, exciting tones of voice, and positive words of encouragement.

Follow the above tips and watch your child develop a strong vocabulary and passion for the written word. The importance of reading with your children cannot be over emphasized.

Reading is a wonderful way to bond with your children and provides memories they will carry with them all their lives. Proficiency in reading, more than any other skill, increases their potential for success in school and as an adult.

In short, reading with your children is a gift that gives for a lifetime.