Take your child to the moon and beyond – with reading | SierraSun.com

Take your child to the moon and beyond – with reading

Lindsay Dunckel, Ph.D.
Special to the Sun

TAHOE/TRUCKEE – An enchanted forest, a princess’ palace, the rocky surface of the moon … children can visit the most amazing places when they read books with their parents and caregivers. Not only is reading fun, research shows young children who spend time reading with their families enter kindergarten better prepared. On May 5, Tahoe-Truckee families and caregivers have the opportunity to participate in the Truckee Child Development Conference and learn all about how to help children develop to their full potential – join me for a fun day of learning!

Meanwhile, I have the following tips on reading with children, which will have them saying “Read to me!”

Read aloud: Read aloud with your child to help stimulate his or her mind, develop verbal skills and build vocabulary. Kids who are read to regularly have vocabularies hundreds of times larger than kids who aren’t.

Encourage early learning: Children begin learning the day they are born. It is never too early to start reading together. Even newborns enjoy the rhythms of simple books.

Ask questions: Engage your child by asking questions that relate to the story you are reading together. Ask your child to point to certain colors or objects and have him or her follow along by pointing to words as you read aloud. Make predictions about what is going to happen, imagine what you would do if you were in the story.

Decide to read daily: Studies have shown children who are read to daily begin to develop both communication and thinking skills at a much younger age. Commit to reading together every day to help your child develop the skills necessary to enter school more prepared. And reading together is a cozy, joyful experience that helps your child associate those great feelings with books and reading, paving the way for a lifetime of loving to read.

Take a trip to the library: Visit your library for a free way to read and enjoy the latest book titles. Involve your child by letting him or her choose the books you read together. Check out story times and other library activities for kids, too.

Offer age-appropriate books: The types of books you choose should increase in difficulty as your child ages. For babies and toddlers, begin with books that have brightly-colored, simple pictures and feature familiar names and objects as well as those with a rhythm and rhyme that will keep little ones interested. As your child approaches preschool age, read books with more complex words and story lines. The books you read together will get longer over time as your child’s ability to attend increases.

Make reading fun: Help instill a love of reading in your child by making reading fun. Take reading beyond the book by writing (and reading) your own story together or acting out scenes from your favorite book.

Enjoy reading everywhere: Show your child the joy of reading is not limited to books. For example, challenge your child to read street signs and billboards while driving, or read labels and store signs aloud while grocery shopping. And always have a book handy to help pass the time if you have to wait – at the post office, at a restaurant, at the doctor’s office, even in line at the grocery store.

– Lindsay Dunckel, Ph.D., is executive director of First 5 Nevada County

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