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How to Nurture a Heart For Learning in Your Child-Reading

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how to nurture a heart for learning in your childI think we can all agree that reading is such an essential skill that is foundational to success in every area. Our kids can not learn science, history, or even math if they can’t read, or if they can’t read well.

I love that all my kids love to read…at least the ones who are old enough. It was not always this way. I have had two kids who hated reading. You can read more about them when I shared some tips of what worked well to transform them into readers.

So then, how do we create an atmosphere that breeds readers?

Of course we know that we read to our kids. I have written about this within the context of preschoolers. But engaging our young children to participate is key.

How do we do this when they are toddlers/preschoolers?

  • When reading picture books, have your child point and tap the pictures on the pages.
  • When reading books with words, move your child’s finger along the words as you read, developing a left to right pattern.
  • Use different voices for different characters and use emotion when reading.
  • Read them the same book over and over again when they ask for it. Yes, really. You must.
  • Don’t be surprised when your child wants to “read” the book on his/her own.
  • Play books on tape often for your child. Even books that are far above their level.
  • Record your own voice reading some of their favorite books.
  • Have your child color a picture of stories as you read.
  • Establish a family reading time when you read aloud to your children. We do this before bed every night. We read chapter books, often classics, along with our Bible chapter. I can’t say enough positive things about this.book-748904_1280

As your preschooler gets a bit older, do all of the above things and add in these things:

  • Summarize the story in his/her own words.
  • Stop in the middle of the story to allow your child to make predictions about what will happen.
  • When learning phonics, play phonics games. They will be learning, but they will only think they are having fun. There are so many games to choose from. I will share some of our favorites at a later time.
  • Ask your child these specific questions: Who are the characters? Where and when did the story take place? Who is your favorite character and why? What is your favorite part of the story? Were there any parts of the story that you didn’t like?

Once your child knows their letter sounds they are ready to start READING!! Then you can add in these things:

  • Continue reading aloud, but as they progress you can stop at words they can read like at, and, and other sight words.
  • Later, you can read every other line or every other sentence with your child.
  • Establish a quiet reading time in your family day when everyone reads quietly on their own.
  • Join reading incentive programs like you can usually find at your local library. There are also several national bookstores that have summer reading programs. Barnes and Noble is one of them.learning-164331_1280

Giving your child a love for reading is such a gift, and you can start developing this love even before your child’s first birthday. Try some of these tricks and watch your child’s love for reading take root. If you have a reluctant reader like I have had, read this post here for some encouragement.

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