Inside: Why it’s so important to read to your children everyday and tips to practice literacy outside of your house.
At some point in your life or parenting journey you may have heard about the importance of reading to your children.
Knowing how important it is, you were probably very dedicated to reading to your child every day. But then at some point, reading to your kids goes to the wayside.
It might be something you mean to do but for whatever reason, it’s not happening.
Or as you’ve had more kids and your life became busier, it wasn’t a priority anymore.
As a mom who parents two young kids alone a lot of the time, (my husband works a very demanding job) I know there’ve been days where I had too much going on and I forgot about it.
And this is coming from someone who loves reading!
Plus I was also a kindergarten teacher and worked with at risk youth so I definitely know the impact that reading to young children has on their literacy skills, reading success, and the impact literacy has on the rest of their lives.
But having to shoulder most of the responsibility of parenting, doing chores, errands, combined with working two jobs, reading to my kids just didn’t always happen.
But there’s such an immense value in reading to your kids every day, that when I realized that I had been forgetting more frequently, I decided to make it a priority.
Even on our most hectic days I strive to read to my kids every day.
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I’ll get into this more in depth later on, (feel free to check it out if you don’t want to wait) but there’s an amazing reading course called Teaching Kids To Read Age 0-5. This course gives you the tools and techniques you need to give your child a solid literacy foundation that is mindful of the diverse world.
It’s for parents, soon to be parents, and caregivers of babies and children ages 0-5. It’s designed for parents and caregivers who want to give their kids a head start in their education!
But first I want to talk about:
Why is it so important to read to your children?
-Reading helps young kids learn to focus and pay attention as they listen to a story.
-Hearing a story helps your child understand how language should sound because of the fluency in which you speak and the tone or inflection you use when reading to them.
-When you point to each word as you read, they learn that the words on the page have meaning. They also begin to understand that words are read from left to right (in English).
-Reading exposes children to new vocabulary. Even if you talk to your child throughout the day, you’re typically using similar vocabulary. But children’s books will expose your child to words they don’t hear on an everyday basis.
Related: Diverse Books For Girls
-Reading books to your kids also exposes them to different topics they may not normally come across in their day to day life.
For example, children don’t know anything about other cultures, (other than the one/ones they’re raised in) unless they’re exposed to them. A great way to introduce them to other cultures is through books.
Reading diverse books can set your child up for success in the long run because they’ll be more knowledgeable, accepting, and tolerant of those who are different than them.
Related: Diverse Books For Boys
This also holds true with books that are about different families, like two mommies or two daddies. Your child may not know those types of families exist if that’s not their everyday reality.
But reading books about those different topics will help them understand not everyone is the same or not everyone’s families are the same, but we should treat people equally and appreciate what makes people unique.
It’s also a great way to show children who have differences, that there are characters who look like them and have families like them.
For example, my kids are biracial and we read many books that feature biracial children or children of color so they can see their reality reflected back to them in books.
-Reading encourages your child’s imagination and curiosity.
For example, your child might read a book that mentions trucks and then they want to know more about them. So then you can go to the library and get books on different kinds of trucks to let them learn about this new thing that interests them.
Or maybe they want to know more about dinosaurs because they’re reading about it in school. Then you can get them books on dinosaurs to help satiate their desire to learn about that subject.
Books are an amazing learning tool
-Reading to young children helps them understand what emotions look like, what they feel like, and how they can relate to others through emotions.
They can begin to understand what empathy is by hearing and seeing how a character is sad or mad when something happens and connect that to a time they felt that way in their life.
-When you’re reading to your child you can help them build their problem solving and social skills by actively engaging them in conversation about what’s happening in the book.
For example having a conversation about a girl that’s sad her friend didn’t want to play with her or a boy who was mad because he didn’t want to share.
-Reading to your child about big events that are happening in their lives can help them process what’s going on and understand how to cope.
For example reading children’s books about divorce, the first day of school, becoming an older sibling, potty training, moving, etc.
-Reading encourages imagination as well.
When I’m reading to my daughter, she loves to guess what’ll happen just from looking at the pictures.
Or she likes to “read” the story to me and tells me her own version of the story based on the pictures.
Check out the abc’s of reading with your child here.
What are some ways you can practice literacy skills outside of reading books?
As we’ve established, reading books to your kids is great and it’s something you should be doing daily.
But there’s also other ways of practicing early literacy skills with your kids that you can even when you’re not at home, that’s equally as important.
You can point out logos and symbols that your kids see in everyday life and explain that they mean something, (like the McDonalds sign, the Target sign, an exit sign, a stop sign, the colors of the traffic lights, etc.). This is called environmental print.
Your child will begin to connect that the symbols and letters have meaning, which is an early literacy skill.
You can also show your child symbols on packaging or posters and ask them what they think it means.
My daughter does this a lot with things she finds around the house.
For example, we have an all purpose ointment and based on the pictures on the back of it, she can tell me what it’s for, (diapers, lips, feet, “pacifiers” aka drool rash).
So how can you remember to read and practice these skills every day?
I completely understand how crazy life can get and that something as small as reading and practicing literacy skills can get forgotten about.
But setting up a routine can help you remember to do these things daily so these vital skills aren’t lost in the chaos of your day.
You can read when they’re sitting on the potty, during bath time, at meals, during play time, or bedtime.
Whatever you choose, stick to that particular time because it’ll help you remember to do it.
You can also set some books out in that specific place where you’ll be reading to help you remember.
For us, nights can be chaotic so bedtime stories don’t always happen. To combat that, every morning I have my kids pick out a few stories and I’ll read them at each meal.
I have the books sitting on the kitchen table so I remember to do it, and I can easily read them several books a day doing this!
Practicing recognizing environmental print can be as simple as asking your kids to look at the labels of cereal boxes, soup cans, (like Campbells), craft boxes, (like Crayola), or looking at pictures on the back of items you have around the house, (like ointment, baby/toddler food items, etc.) and see if they can tell you what they are.
How to raise readers from birth
On top of reading to your kids daily and practicing environmental print with them, there’s even more you can do to ensure literacy and reading success!
As promised, I want to really dig into the course Teaching Kids To Read Age 0-5!
This course was designed by my friend Bethany Edwards. She has a serious passion for high quality diverse books, reading, and raising global citizens! She has been a professional educator for 12 years and is a literary specialist!
You may be wondering what am I going to get from this course?
- A how-to guide on encouraging your baby, toddler, or preschooler to have exceptional reading, writing, speech, listening, and motor skills before they turn 5
- Instructions and techniques on how to create a literacy-rich and diverse environment to instill a love and passion for reading, but also for reading the world.
- A walk through of health/emotional benefits of reading, writing, and the art of conversation with a child through music, language, art, play, and math.
- A practical guide for how to use whole brain learning as a reading technique
- Strategies and resources for teaching children multiple languages even if you aren’t multilingual
- Over 500 read-aloud books for different ages and topics
Who is this course for?
- Parents, soon to be parents, and caregivers of babies and children ages 0-5.
- The course is in English, but the strategies and tools work in any language you are teaching your child or children.
Why is this course so important and why do you need it?
A child’s brain is almost fully developed by the time they turn 5 years old. How can you make the most of that time? Of course you can read to your children. But this course is so much more than reading to your kids, (like A LOT more!). It gives you specific tools and techniques which will ensure you’ve taken advantage of your child’s first 5 years.
I’ve taken the course myself and there is truly SO MUCH amazing information in it! I mean it’s hard for me to even break down the best parts because there are so many takeaways and strategies to help your child not just become a lifelong reader, but a lifelong activist as well.
Bethany uses a whole brain learning approach to literacy to help you understand the process behind learning to read to make it much less challenging when you’re teaching your child to read.
The strategies you learn are easy to understand and implement every day, (you don’t need a teaching degree to understand or apply what you’ve learned!)
One of my favorite lessons from the course was on diversity in books and how that helps children become activists for equality in education, as well as how transformational it can be for children to read books about people who aren’t like them.
Another favorite was the lesson on learning multiple languages. Teaching my children to become bilingual is a goal of mine so I loved that she included strategies for how to teach them a language you’re not fluent in, and where to find different resources to help you teach your child another language.
This course gives kids the social/emotional and academic boost they need to excel the rest of their life!
Here’s what’s inside the course!
Lesson 1- The Importance of Reading Aloud
Lesson 2- Learning Multiple Languages
Lesson 3- Whole Brain Learning
Lesson 4- Managing a Reading Session
Lesson 5- Pre- Reading Skills
Lesson 6- Beginning Writing
Lesson 7- Beginning Listening
Lesson 8- Beginning Speaking
Lesson 9- Reading the World
Lesson 10- Creating a Reader Friendly Home and Review
Another amazing benefit of purchasing the course
Bethany created this course because she has a passion for teaching children early literacy skills along with helping them become globally minded. She wants to give them a strong foundation for school and life.
Bethany wants every child to be successful in school but she also knows single parent households are at a disadvantage because they lack the same time and resources that households with multiple parents have.
So for every course that’s purchased, she’s donating free access to the course to a single parent, (or spouse of someone who is deployed in the military)!
This is very close to my heart because I understand first hand the challenges a single parent household faces, along with the challenges of parenting alone.
Why is it so important to read to young children?
The short answer is it sets them up for a lifetime of success.
They’ll have a head start in their language development and literacy skills. Plus they can learn social skills and how to solve problems when you actively engage them while you’re reading to them.
Children’s brains are like sponges soaking everything up but at the age of 5, their brains are nearly developed.
The course Teaching Kids To Read 0-5 is meant to give you the tools and strategies you can use to make the absolute most of the crucial first 5 years of your child’s life.