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It’s never too early to introduce reading

Pam McAdoo, Sierra Sun

With Labor Day behind us, cool nights settling in, the end of the summer invasion in sight, and the start-up of school, it’s a good time to look at the ways parents can help their young children become eager and life-long readers.

The first step is to create a reading household. Because children imitate what they see and hear, parents can promote reading simply by keeping a variety of books and magazines in the house, and by reading regularly themselves.

Introduce books early on: the average child is ready for books at the age of 6 months. With a wealth of squeezable, scratch-and-sniff and floatable books now on the market, parents can find a variety of fun books, from simple board books to elaborate and colorful peek-a-boo and noise-making books. Throw a couple in the diaper bag when you go out to eat, keep a stash next to the car seat for baby to handle while you’re on the road, read them to your little one while she is in the bath.

Set aside a regular time for reading. Even 10 minutes a day spent reading, with your child on the couch after dinner or at bedtime, will create a wonderful bond between you that your child will associate with reading.

Be sure to structure this time so that you enjoy it, whether that means hiding the book you’re so tired of under the couch, waiting until after the dishes are done so you can really relax, or taking a deep breath and making yourself fully available for the reading session. Reading out loud can be a wonderful experience if you let yourself enter your child’s world: get into the drama, use different voices for each character (the Big Bad Wolf wouldn’t have the same voice as Granny, would he?) and let your child act out parts of the story (if she’s getting wiggly just when the Wolf is huffing and puffing, why not let her stand up and huff and puff?).

Remember to be as flexible as you are with your child’s other activities. If he can’t sit still, set him up at the table with crayons and a coloring book while you read aloud. Read the favorite passage over and over if he asks.

Instead of plodding through a long paragraph that doesn’t hold his interest, use your own words and condense the story; or just skip past the parts that he – or perhaps you – find boring.

Seize the moments and opportunities that books offer. Reading provides an excellent way to approach difficult subjects with young children. Bookstores and libraries can recommend simple and informative books on anything from nightmares and death to preventing sexual assault.

Let stories pave the way for discussions and trigger thoughts or ideas about other subjects. Who cares if you end up discussing why families make photo albums and don’t return to finish the book until the next day or next week or never? Keep an open mind and follow your wonderful parenting instincts.

And finally, pristine new books are for sale at many different types of stores. But remember that there are plenty of sturdy used books to be found at thrift stores, yard sales, and – you guessed it – your good old neighborhood library.

Truckee Library 582-7846

10031 Levone Avenue

Library hours:

Monday 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Tuesday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Wednesday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Thursday 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Friday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Saturday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Regular Childrens Programs:

— Toddlertime with Teri, for ages 18 to 36 months. Tuesdays at 10:30 a.m.

— Babes In Bookland: An Infant Lap-sit Program for ages 6-18 months. Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m.

— Saturday Storytelling With Mrs. Fix. For ages 3-6. Saturdays at 10:30 a.m.


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