One of the most important things you can do to ensure your child is ready to start growing to their full potential is reading. Over forty percent of children enter kindergarten lacking the skills needed for a successful learning experience. Once a child realizes they are not up to speed with their peers it can be a real challenge to keep them encouraged and willing to work to catch up. The benefits of reading to and with your Pre-K child are enormous and can be accomplished in only 20 minutes each day. Surely you can carve out 20 minutes a day from your busy schedule to do something that will impact your child for their entire life.
Let’s discuss the inherit benefits of reading with your child. As a Mom or Dad you obviously have a big influence on your child. When you spend time reading together you strengthen the bond with your child. The power of this bond will have a positive effect on your child’s attitude toward reading and their ability to read. Be sure you make the most of this special time with your child, they are only this age once! When you read to a child they are exercising their mind, imagining what the book is telling. They are learning new words and pronunciations. They are learning the parts of a book, and how to read a book from front to back, top to bottom and left to right. All of these are skills required to succeed in Kindergarten. And perhaps one of the biggest benefits of all is that when you read to your child they associate reading with a positive experience.
Now that we have discussed the inherit benefits of reading with your child, let’s list some steps on how to Prepare Your Child for Kindergarten by Reading:
Read with your child at least 20 minutes everyday. Bedtime is probably best because it is generally a quiet time and your child will more easily focus on the book. However if you choose to read with them during the day remember to make it fun. Alter your voice to represent the books characters and be animated. The key is to make reading a positive experience.
Encourage your child to look at all the illustrations and pictures and ask them questions about those pictures. For example, ask them what type of expression is on a character’s face, like a smile or frown. Then ask them how they know that. This encourages them to use their logic and life experience skills to formulate an opinion.
Take your child to the library once a week. While you are there make sure your child has fun! You want them to associate the library, books and reading as a positive experience. Let them play with puzzles and play learning games on the library computers. You can even sit on the floor and read a story to your child right there. By the time you are halfway through the story you will probably have another 3 or 4 kids that have joined your circle for story time! Fun for everyone! Then get your child to help you pick out 10 books to take home. Read these books to them each night at bedtime. Some nights you may only get to read two books before they fall asleep, but some nights you may end up reading all 10!
Remember that there is no school or government program that can substitute for you the parent. Turn off the History Channel and HGTV and read with your child. Let your child see you reading a book for you or a newspaper. Tell them about what you are reading and be willing to answer their questions. Enjoy those questions now, someday they will be teenagers and won’t want to hear anything you have to say!