Tips for Engaging Young Readers
By Kaitlin Donnan
• It’s never too early to start reading to your young ones! Even reading to a child in the womb has proven to not only relax them, but promote early language learning in regards to stimulation and brain development as well. Babies are fond of the sound of their parents’ voices, even if they don’t understand the words!
• Dedicated reading time should be free from all disruptions. Be sure you can both focus your attention and are safe from screen or noise distractions.
• Slowing down or pausing also allows your child to focus on the text and try to pick out or sound out words on their own. Figuring out a tough word improves their reading skills, and gives them that sense of satisfaction as well when they do!
• Don’t rush. Take the time to pause and comment on different illustrations or words, and offer commentary or answer questions as they arise. This both promotes engagement as you admire the finer details in an illustration, and encourages your child to actively participate.
• Mix up what books you read. You don't need to read a long chapter book all in one sitting, and reading a few shorter books proves just as engaging. Let your child pick out a book or two and invite them in on the process. And remember, this should be treated like a fun bonding activity, not homework!
• Rereading books never hurts! While you may not find the same joy in reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar every night for a week straight, studies show that doing so improves children's reading skills along with their understanding of what they read.
• Reading at a young age helps promote improved vocabulary, attention spans, and concentration skills. A daily reading time stimulates literacy along with other language and social skills! (It can help boost self-confidence when reading in class and improve oral communication.)
• Reading is important at any and every age as it promotes brain health and reduces stress while building empathy. Doing so allows us to travel to other worlds, but it gives us new experiences, new paths to consider, and gives us something to share.