Over the past several months, a good number of parents have approached me about teaching their babies and young children to read. I applaud these mothers and fathers for wanting to help their children to get a head start in reading. There really is no need to teach your baby to read before starting school, but there are many things you can do to get them ready to learn to read. I offer a few words of advice: Teaching babies and young children to read
Read to your child everyday! This is the most important thing you can do for your child. And it goes without saying, but reading with your child should be fun, not a chore.
Your child should see you reading! Yes, the grown-ups in their lives should read in front of the child. A book, magazine, newspaper, or even emails are all forms of reading. Model for your child that reading is an essential part of everyday life.
Point out words they see everyday! Look for stop signs or the sign to your favorite grocery store. What do you see on the milk carton?
Let your child play with the letters in his or her name! These letters are usually the first letters a child recognizes. Do silly things with these letters. Spell the child's name with play dough or lego pieces.
If you do want to teach your child to read before starting elementary school, then find a reading instruction program that fits for your family! There are many commercial products out there to help you. The most heavily marketed product is the "Teach Your Baby to Read" program. There are also many books written on the topic. Many of these books can be found right here at your library (see list below).
Baby read-aloud basics: fun and interactive ways to help your little one discover the world of words by Caroline J Blakemore and Barbara Weston Ramirez (PC j372.4 BLAKEMO)
The between the lions book for parents: Everything you need to know to help your child learn to read by Linda K. Rath and Louise Kennedy (372.41 RATH)
Raising confident readers: How to teach your child to read and write – from baby to age 7 by Dr. J. Richard Gentry (PC j372.6 GENTRY)
The reading lesson: the intelligent reading program for children: teach your child to read in 20 lessons by Michael Levin and Charan Langton (372.465 LEVIN 2000)
Teach your child to read in just ten minutes a day by Sidney Ledson (PC j649.58 LEDSON)