Did you know that reading daily to infants stimulates early brain development? And as kids get older reading helps them build vocabulary, gives them stronger language skills and a much higher likelihood of doing well in school and graduating. Here are five ways to bring the joy and benefits of reading to your kids.
Choose Books for your Kid’s Interests
If your kids are fascinated with dinosaurs or ponies, let them pick books about these subjects, they’ll be much more likely to want to read about their favorite things. You can even go further by finding connections to similar topics. For example if you child loves cars, then don’t stop at fictional stories about cars, think about choosing books about car racing, car designs or racecar drivers.
Pick Fun Books
Books with silly, rhyming stories or those that are interactive or have made-up elements are a surefire way to draw your young child into reading. These classics show up on many Children’s Favorite Books lists. Jamberry by Bruce Degen is a funny rhyming story about a bear, a boy and lots of berries. Dr. Seuss books still delight kids with rhyming fantasy characters and a new one was recently released called What Pet Should I Get?. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle lets little one poke fingers in the book as they follow along the story. Kids love stories with magic elements too. Doña Flor by Pat Mora is another kid favorite, a magical story about a kindly giant in English with some Spanish words.
Even a car trip can be an opportunity to show kids how to read. Stop signs, billboards, even restaurant or store names can be spelled out loud while driving. Or play a read-on-the-go game where you and your kids take a turn reading as many street signs, store names, sale signs, etc. as you can in a minute or two. Books downloaded on tablets and phones are easy to travel with and teacher and kid favorite Starfall.com (click here for a peek) is a free website that teaches kids ABCs and how to read with games.
Celebrate Reading in Two Languages
If English is not the native language spoken in your home, or you want your kids to be familiar with another language, there are many great multi-language books that let kids practice vocabulary in two languages. Am I Small/Ako ba ay Maliit? by Phillip Winterberg tells the story of Tamia and her visits with many animals in both English and Tagalog. Hello Ocean, Hola Mar by Pam Munoz Ryan is a favorite Spanish/English book of preschoolers, especially those in San Diego who can visit the ocean! Perro Grande Perro Pequeño/Big Dog Little Dog by P.D. Eastman is another popular choice for preschool to 2nd grade kids.
Take Advantage of Library & Store Reading Programs
Local libraries sponsor many programs for kids that will kick start a love for reading like Chula Vista Library’s Storytime for toddlers on Tuesday mornings, Shake, Rattle and Read for infants and toddlers on Wednesday mornings, Ready Set Read for preschool kids on Thursday morning and Family Pajama Storytime for kids 5 and under and their parents on Thursday nights.
Eastlake Barnes & Noble offers a very entertaining storytelling program too; every Saturday at 11:00 a.m. Upcoming events include stories by Dr. Seuss, What a Wonderful World and Too Many Carrots for little kids and even a Batman vs. Superman teen event in March.