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Literacy is Rooted in Love

Too Small to Fail
By Too Small to Fail

Father reading to his son and niece

One of the sweetest, most memorable, experiences for a parent or caretaker is sitting down in a chair, putting your arm around your child, and reading books together.

That simple activity of discovering stories with each other, one on one, strengthens your bond and sets your child up for a lifetime of loving books.

Only half of all toddlers – and even fewer babies – are read to regularly by parents or family members, according to the nonprofit literacy group, Reading is Fundamental, which recommends reading at least 30 minutes a day to help prepare a child to learn.

Long before a child learns to read, she is absorbing sounds and patterns of language by listening to you and other caregivers talk.  The more you engage her brain by reading with her as part of a regular routine, the better equipped she’ll be for both speaking and reading – and the more she’ll learn to associate books with enjoyment.  That can be a big advantage later in school, when reading is sometimes perceived as more work than fun.

You can lay a good foundation for early literacy by celebrating books and reading in your household.  Visit the local library with your preschooler and let them check out new (or favorite!) books. Let your child discover you reading on the couch for relaxation.  With an infant who’s just starting to babble, you can point to pictures in a board book, and vary your tone of voice as you narrate a story. And when your child learns to read, you can encourage her to read aloud with you. 

Reading with your child will greatly expand vocabulary and actually help with other subjects like math. And a child who has fun exploring books at home as a very young child is likely to go on and enjoy reading once she reaches school, and beyond.

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