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Blazing the Trail: Making Reading Fun while Teaching It's Importance

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By Rachel Derry
Staff Writer LIFamilies

When you have little ones it's important to help guide them to the important aspects of life. You teach them to take care of their bodies, to love their family and neighbors, and the importance of a solid education to carry them through life. You may think that the college discussion is way beyond the comprehension of your toddler (which it is), but it's never too early to start emphasizing the importance of reading and learning in your child's life. In all reality, the earlier you start the sooner it becomes second nature to them. One of the first steps in creating a foundation for knowledge lies not only teaching our children to read, but in helping them to enjoy books and reading.

Make story time a serious part of your daily routine. Set aside a specific time of the day where someone in your family will have time to sit and read with your little one every day, in the same special place, at the same time. Story time will turn into a daily ritual, just like making their bed and brushing their teeth; just as you have taught them the importance of taking care of themselves and their body, you will teach them the importance of reading and learning. Along the way, when your children develops a habit of wanting the same story over and over again, don't feel the need to force a new story on them; the daily repetition of the same familiar story is a great way to help children start to match the sounds of words with the physical image of them on the page.

Schedule a couple read aloud play dates. Help teach your little ones the importance of reading, while also getting in a little quality socialization and mommy time. Pick a time, location, and book for every couple of weeks to have neighborhood little ones get together and share a read aloud. Take turns bringing your favorite stories, and bring along an activity or craft that will tie into the story, reinforcing what you've just read. If you're reading "Give a Mouse a Cookie," have the children make cookies out of clay, play dough or paint for you to 'deliver' to a mouse. If you're picking a holiday favorite like "Elf on a Shelf" stage a scavenger hunt with the children, looking for the infamous character.

Schedule local library adventure days for you and your little ones. Bring your child to the library and let them pick out whatever books they would like to bring home, but reminding them that they were books that needed to be read. This is a free means of letting your child have their complete own way with as many books as they would like.. Sign them up for their own library card when they are old enough so that they can feel the pride and responsibility associated with actually borrowing the books they plan on reading. Then, hold them to it. Make sure that all of the books that your child has chosen are read and returned before their due date.

As often as you see your child leafing through literature in their quiet time (flipping through the picture pages of their favorite stories) they should also see you leafing through books, newspapers, and magazines of your own. It is much easier said than done when we try to teach our children the importance of reading in their life. Set an example by making reading important in your own. In the end, it is going to be your own example that truly emphasizes the joy of reading, not your words.

Long Island Family Life & Parenting Articles > Blazing the Trail: Making Reading Fun while Teaching It's Importance

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