Research tells us it is never too early to start reading to children. From the day they are born, infants, toddlers, and preschoolers develop language skills and pre-literacy skills every day that help them become readers. Children need between 10,000-12,000 words in their vocabulary to be ready for kindergarten, and reading is one of the best ways to develop these important skills.
But as a busy parent, how do you find time to read? At New Horizon Academy, we know how important reading is and have supported our youngest learners in developing reading skills for over 50 years. We have a few ideas for parents, too. Here are a few easy-to-implement hints and tips to encourage reading and help children reach this important vocabulary goal!
Schedule Daily Reading Time
Just as you schedule other family activities, like dinner, gymnastics, bath night, etc., schedule reading time as part of your daily routine.
Carry Books With You Wherever You Go
Create an on-the-go book bag. Fill the book bag with books and writing materials, then take it with you whenever you leave home. This gives your child fun activities to entertain and occupy him while traveling, while waiting for food at the restaurant, and going to the doctor’s office or other appointments. The opportunities are endless.
Read Environmental Print
Environmental print is the print of everyday life. It’s the print that appears in signs, labels, and logos. It appears in street signs, cereal boxes, labels on a granola bar, and the N in New Horizon Academy. For many emergent readers, environmental print helps bridge the connection between letters and first efforts to read. Point out the printed words in your home and other places you take your child such as the grocery store.
Listen to Audio Books or Podcasts in the Car
Turn off the radio and listen to an audio book or podcast. Your local library has great audio books for children, and there are tons of wonderful podcasts for children. Here are a few of our favorite podcasts:
- Sesame Street – It features your favorite characters and offers fun stories, songs, alphabet activities, and more.
- Brains On! – A fun podcast co-hosted by children about scientific concepts.
- Wow in the World – A podcast from NPR about why and how things work.
- Parenting Pickup Podcast – New Horizon Academy’s very own Parenting Pickup Podcast invites special guests in early childhood education to share their expertise on a variety of parenting topics such as biting, picky eating, kindergarten readiness, and more!
Be a Reading Role Model
Let your child see you read. This sends a message that reading is important.
Use New Horizon Academy’s “I Love to Read” Calendar
The New Horizon Academy ‘I Love to Read’ calendar is full of simple things you can do with your child to support reading. From going on an alphabet walk, to making a fort and reading together with a flashlight, there are tons of simple ways to squeeze reading into your daily routine.