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Reading with your child - everywhere, anytime and anything - is the best way to help them become a strong reader. Read books (of course), signs, labels and even cereal boxes!

Children who enjoy books will want to learn to read. Enjoying books together every day is the first step toward developing a love of reading. Sharing a book is an opportunity to bond with your child and to show them that reading is important. These positive, fun and playful experiences with books and stories foster a desire to read and encourage your child to keep trying to read.

Children will especially learn to love to read if they love what they’re reading. Follow your child’s developing interests and let your child choose their own books to read or ask your public librarian to help you find books on the subject your child is interested in.

Activities

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Reading Tips

  • Show your child that print is useful and that reading is important to you by talking to them about what you are reading: the newspaper, a book, a menu, a letter or an email.
  • Children learn best by doing- and they love doing things with you. While sharing books with your child, encourage your child to talk about the story and pictures. Invite him to participate by asking questions. Then add more describing words to what your child says, including the character’s feelings, even if those words are not used in the book.
  • Sharing a book is an opportunity to bond with your child and to show him that reading is important. Find a cosy place to ready and, if possible, read with your child in your lap, or sit close and cuddle. Being close makes reading together a warm and happy experience that your child looks forward to.
  • Take some time to talk together about the books. You don’t have to read a book from cover to cover without stopping. Point to the pictures and ask questions like, “What’s this?” or “What is he doing?” Give your child time to answer and praise her efforts.
  • Read books with your child often. Any book with words helps develop print awareness because your child learns to recognize print, how books work and how we use them. Let your child hold the book and turn the pages of the book as she “reads” to you or as you read together.
  • Tell your child how reading with him is the favourite part of your day. Remember to smile at your child while you are reading.
  • Make books and stories a part of your child's daily routine. Read together when you are both in a good mood. Reading happily even for a short time will help develop your child's interest in reading.
  • Bring a sense of adventure to your reading. Read with humour, expression and enthusiasm. Give the story characters different voices. Make your voice loud or soft, high or low. Read faster or slower to fit the story, and add pauses for dramatic effect. Play with adding sounds. Try using a puppet or stuffed animal to help read or tell a story. Involve the whole family in stories.
  • While reading, encourage your child to ask talk about the book. Add to what your child says. If your child says, "Big truck", you might say, "That's right! The firefighter is driving a big, red fire truck!"
  • Help your child understand the story. Ask open ended questions such as: "What do you think is happening in this picture?" As you talk together, your child practices his language and prediction skills.
  • Share books with your child, even your baby, every day and throughout the day. It's helpful to create a special time for reading, such as after dinner, before naps or at bedtime.
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