Raise a Reader

Did you know?? April 2 marks the birthday of famed storyteller Hans Christian Anderson?

52 years ago, this day officially became known as International Children's Book Day (ICBD) to celebrate the birth of the man who brought us The Little Mermaid, The Ugly Duckling, Thumbelina, and The Snow Queen (just to name a few). The purpose of ICBD is to inspire a love of reading and to call attention to children's books. Celebrate today by giving a new book to each of your kids, or reading a new story to those too young to read.

The best and fastest way to develop our young children into intelligent human beings is by teaching them to read. Instilling a love of reading promotes a lifetime of learning and enjoyment. Plus, studies have shown that families who start reading aloud to their children at birth help strengthen their language skills and build their vocabulary!! Literacy doesn’t start only when your child starts school. From birth, babies and children are gathering skills they’ll use in reading. The years between ages 3 and 5 are critical to reading growth.

As your child goes from saying their first sentences to speaking in paragraphs, you will start to see exciting milestones develop with reading. Your child will begin to recognize print on the street, stop signs, familiar store signs, and the address posted on your home. Below are some techniques you can use to help your child learn the joys of reading.

How to raise a reader:

  • When you are out and about, start talking about letters, numbers, and words on packages and signs. Point out the name of your child’s favorite cereal. Play games involving letter and number recognition. Can your child tell you any of the letters in the supermarket sign? 

  • Children enjoy copying words out onto paper. Write your child’s name and have him copy it himself with alphabet stamps, stickers, or magnets. Encourage them to “write” their own words using the letters. Your child will write letters backwards, spell seemingly randomly, and may hold their marker strangely — it’s “all good” at this age when a child wants to communicate in writing of any kind.

  • The letter-sound connection is one of the first steps to reading. Play a guessing game about your child’s favorite words. What letter does “p-p-p-pirate” start with?

  • Three-year-olds can be chatty, and by age 4, it can be hard to get a word in edgewise. Take advantage of your child’s interest in talking by writing a book together. Start out with something simple, like describing a fun day at a park or visiting friends.

  • Try getting your child interested in nonfiction books. At the library or bookstore, find books on your child’s favorite topics. Cars, dinosaurs, dogs, and other topics are covered with plenty of pictures, designed especially for kids this age.

(techniques adapted by https://www.scholastic.com/parents/books-and-reading/books-and-reading-guides/raise-reader-parent-guide-to-reading-ages-3-5.html )

Need help?? Dolly Parton's Imagination Library is a book gifting program that mails free, high-quality books each month to children from birth until they begin school (age 5), no matter their family's income.  Check area availability here: https://imaginationlibrary.com/check-availability/#selectedCountry=US


“You can never get enough books into the hands of enough children

- Dolly Parton