Lena Gibson, a 25 year teaching veteran, spoke to us on 9/18 about the importance of reading with your preschooler. Lena’s experience ranges from lead reading teacher, teaching “struggling” first graders, to teaching teachers the practices for literacy through the Reading Academy. Lena explained how reading is the first step in learning. It teaches our children concepts they will need for life. “Growing up without books is growing up deprived” (reachoutand read.org).
It is our job as parents to help our children develop their brains. Reading teaches the basics in language, along with touching and smiling. Lena suggested, dont just read; converse about each book, and talk with your child about the story/characters. These practices will increase children’s vocabulary and power of communication. She also warned, “dont stop reading when they start school.” Experts say that children need a thousand books read to them each year. The rule of thumb being 3 books a day. (One old favorite, one new story and one familiar book.) Lena also mentioned to pick books that are well written and good literature; steering clear of the “grocery store” selections.
Another key concept in reading with your children is to “show them how to read.” This teaches concentration.
M= meaning (Knowledge of world, words, message in stories)
S= language structure (Knowledge of language and the way it works)
V= visual information (Knowledge of conventions of print)
Read out loud to your child. Ask questions about the story and make predictions. But steer clear of “testing” your child.
“…..listening to a mother or father’s voice will give your youngster an emotional strength that is irreplaceable.” Rosemary Wells
Set aside 20 minutes each day and read to your child. “Reading to your little one is just like putting gold coins in the bank. It will pay you back tenfold.” Rosemary Wells.