Thank you to the Wichita Public Library for sponsoring this article.
It is never too early to start reading to your child. As the New Year begins and you create goals and resolutions for yourself, consider developing reading goals for your child.
You can begin to create a young reader by practicing five activities that help build cognitive abilities and curiosity.
Young children naturally learn how to express themselves and how the world works by playing. It requires only a small space, simple props and some imagination and encouragement. You don’t need expensive or special toys to make play time fun – just make available props, like large boxes, old clothes, plastic food containers, paper shopping bags and empty toilet paper rolls.
Children learn language by listening to their parents and others talk and joining in the conversation. As children listen, they learn new words and what they mean. The first step in being able to read the word “dog” is hearing it as a baby…again and again and again.
Songs are fantastic ways to learn about language. They develop listening skills and slow down language so children can hear the different sounds that make up words. Clapping along with the beat helps improve motor skills and helps children learn the sounds in words. Songs also teach new words and introduce new ideas and concepts.
Reading books together is the single best way to help children develop early literacy skills. Read together every day and talk about the books you read. Children who are read to are more likely to want to learn to read themselves. Show your child that reading is important by letting him or her see you enjoying reading.
Reading and writing go hand in hand. Writing activities help children learn letter names and sound out new words. Writing also helps children understand that written words represent ideas, places, things and events. Scribbling and drawing are forms of writing and it helps develop eye-hand coordination.
Your Wichita Public Library has several great programs and resources to help your child begin reading. For the youngest readers, the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten program grows early literacy skills by parents or caregivers reading books to their child – 1,000 to be exact – before they start kindergarten.
Early Learning Backpacks are kits that are themed and include picture books, educational games and toys, and activity guides for further learning and exploration. Themes include Backyard Discovery, Colors All Around, Me and My Emotions, and Seasons of the Year. These kits are perfect for ages 3-8.
If you’re looking for something fun for the older kids, we offer STEAM To Go! Kits. Bring these creative and educational kits to your home! Each kit comes with different themed activities and books that take learning to a whole new level. Themes include Building and Design, All About Dinosaurs, Estimation and Patterns, and Food and Nutrition. These kits are great for grades 4+.