March is National Literacy month and every year Next Generation Children’s Centers marks it with a week-long Dr. Seuss celebration! Each year we read classic Seuss tales (you probably remember them as a child) to ALL of our classrooms – Infants through Kindergarten. We even encourage our Kindergarten children to read to our younger age groups to role model what reading success looks like!
Establishing a love of reading in young children goes beyond a National Literacy month or curriculum in school – it really starts at home with parents. In the early childhood education field, parents are always seeking advice on ways to expose their children to reading that will turn it into a beloved activity. Our advice is simple – take time to read with them! Starting as young as a few months old through ages 9 or 10, an evening routine of reading to or with your child before bedtime initiates them into the amazing world of literature. There isn’t a right or wrong title of book to share with your child – it’s about the time and enthusiasm you bring to that routine that will help build your child’s love of reading.
Writing as a busy working mother of three whose children have all grown to love reading , I can speak from experience that each of my children had a different time-line of when they became confident and voracious readers. Each one had different favorite book we read until the book’s spine became loose, each went on to find a different chapter series they loved (Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, and Captain Underpants to name a few) and each have branched out into their own fictional writing (well, the six year old draws comics most of the time) as another form of self-expression. I feel that their love of reading (and now writing) is because of the time we spent together reading Goodnight Moon very quietly like we were the little bunny on the page or Green Eggs and Ham like the indignant character who won’t try something new – silly voices and all!
If you haven’t established a routine of reading at night – no time like the present! Need some more tips? Here is a great article from the US Department of Education’s Reading is Fundamental project to get you started – enjoy!
Next Generation Children’s Center