Help Children Develop a Love of Reading
Studies done during the last decade show a sharp decline in the number of students who read for fun and a decrease in home support for reading.
U.S. Department of Education statistics show on average mothers spend less than 30 minutes a day and fathers even less only 15 minutes a day talking with their children. Idaho families can buck these trends by spending time together during Idaho Family Reading Week (mid-November each year) and throughout the year, by getting back to basics.
State Librarian Dr. Charles Bolles challenges families to visit their public library, read more books, and spend more time talking and reading aloud with children. He also views Idaho Family Reading Week as an opportunity for the community to celebrate literacy.
"By combining efforts and involving as many Idahoans as possible, we have a much better chance of reaching Idaho parents with the read aloud message," Dr. Bolles said. "Reading aloud is the single most important thing parents can do to ensure their child's success in school and libraries are a great place for families to learn more together."
Here are some things parents and caregivers can do to help develop a love of reading from a young age:
- Talk, read and sing to your child every day.
- Ask grandparents, aunts, and uncles to share family stories, lullabies, or nursery rhymes with younger family members.
- Learn new fingerplays (finger puppets) or songs to sing with your child.
- Visit your public library and have your child select books to read.
- Create a "reading" home by placing books everywhere. Books put in the kitchen or the bathroom can be enjoyed any time children are in that room.
- Be selective and involved in your children's television watching.
- "Parents who read and whose homes have lots of reading materials also have children who get a lot of reading done," Bolles said. "And we all know that good reading skills are linked with success in school and later life."
Additional Internet Resources
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Dinner and A Book Idaho's Superintendent of Public Instruction's Dinner & a Book initiative asks parents to connect daily through 20 minutes of conversation and 20 minutes of reading together. The web site lists suggested books for families and some links to other important resources.
Start Early, Finish Strong: How to Help Every Child Become a Reader U.S. Department of Education, America Reads Challenge, July 1999. This publication provides the latest research and recommendations to help all children succeed in reading. Single copies are available free of charge by calling 1-877-433-7827.
Ready*Set*Read! Early Childhood Reading Readiness Program The kit was developed by the Department of Health and Human Services, the Corporation for National Service, and the Department of Education to advance President Clinton's challenge to help every child in America read independently and well by the end of the third grade. The kit includes: The READY*SET*READ Activity Guides for Families and Caregivers, which provide ideas you can use to help young children learn about language with age-appropriate activities. Spanish versions of the Activity Guides for Familias and Cuidadores de Ni¤os Peque¤os are also available.
Language and Children Article on the Early Childhood Information Clearinghouse.
Copyright 2007 by Idaho Department of Health and Welfare
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