10 Reading Tips for Parents of Children Under 5

The early years from birth to 5 years old are critical to developing a lifelong love of reading. You can't start reading to a child too soon! Try these tips from Education specialist at Reading Rockets and let us know how it worked for you in our parent forum.

1. Read together with your
child every day

Read to your child every day. Make this a warm and loving time when the two of you can cuddle close together. Bedtime is an especially great time for reading together.

2. Give everything
a name

Children build comprehension skills early so play games that involve naming or pointing to objects. Say things like, "Where's your nose?" and then, "Where's Mommy's nose?" Or touch your child's nose and say, "What's this?"

3. Point out print everywhere
you see it

Talk about the written words you see in the world around you and respond with interest to your child's questions about words. Ask him/her to find a new word every time you go out for a walk together.

Tell your child how much you enjoy reading with him or her. Look forward to this time you spend together. Talk about "story time" as the favorite part of your day.

4. Tell your child how much
you enjoy reading together

Be sure to infuse humor and expression in your voice when reading to your child. Use different voices for different characters. Don't be afraid to exaggerate and ham it up!

5. Read with your "funny" voice

Your child will probably want to hear a favorite story over and over. Go ahead and read the same book for the 100th time! Research suggests that repeated readings help children develop language skills.

6. Read it again...and again...
and again

Draw your child's attention to the way writing works. When looking at a book together, point out how we read from left to right and how letters form words, and words are separated by spaces.

7. Don't forget to talk about writing, too

Engage your child so he or she will actively listen to a story. Discuss what's happening, point out things on the page, and answer your child's questions. Ask questions of your own and listen to your child's responses.

8. Ask your child questions

If your child loses interest or has trouble paying attention, just put the book away for a while. Don't continue reading if your child is not enjoying it.

9. Know when to stop

All children learn at different pace. However, be sure to alert your child's doctor or teacher as soon as possible if you have concerns about meeting development goals in language, hearing, or sight. You can contact the Ministry of Education, Guyana at 592-223-7900 or email <insert email address here>

10. If you suspect a problem, get it checked out right away