Do you live in a Book Home? Is your home filled with a love of reading, listening to stories, and playing with words and sounds? Are books a part of every day? Does your child have a favorite book and a favorite time to hear books read aloud?
Before children are ready to read, they need lots of “lap time” – time sitting with a grown-up or older child listening to books read aloud. They also need time to look at books on their own, to be comfortable holding a book and turning pages, exploring at their own pace.
Children discover that there is a story inside each book, and pictures too! They learn new words and ideas, excitement and adventure, comfort and delight! Just listening to books, without knowing how to read themselves, children learn how to express themselves in words, how to think creatively and critically, how to ask questions and, children develop a longer attention span.
With all that goodness packed in children’s books, you’ll want to make your home into a Book Home – if it isn’t already!
Here are some suggestions:
- Own some children’s books, but also borrow from the library or pick up used books at yard sales or a Bright Red Bookshelf, if your community has that program.
- Have books within reach of children. For baby, put board books in a basket on the floor next to the toys. For pre-schoolers, make sure books are on lower shelves where children can get them.
- Stand some books up on a table or in the bookcase so their front cover is facing out and they are more noticeable.
- Take photos of your child enjoying a book and put that picture on the refrigerator, in a photo album or in a picture frame.
- Give books as gifts for special occasions like birthdays and holidays.
- Let your children see you reading books, magazines, letters and emails.
- Play with words! Sing nursery rhymes, say tongue twisters, make up silly word combinations with your child.
- Talk to your child about the books you read together. Talk to your child about what you do together. Children learn words by hearing them and using them.
- Do things with your child that you read about in children’s storybooks, like baking cookies, visiting a park, going for a walk. Relate the books you read to real life.
- Read to your child every day!