Reading to your baby


(WTNH) — It is never too early to teach good reading behaviors.  Founder of Strongtots Chrissy Khachne explains how simple pre-reading skills such as knowing how to handle a book, turn the page, and explore the pictures are essential in early literacy development.  If your child has a natural curiosity for reading take advantage of the opportunity to introduce letters and individual letter sounds (phonemes).


#1. Picture books are an incredible literacy tool as they help children understand many important conventions of reading (how to hold a book upright, turn the page, understand left to right print, etc.).  The illustrations help children learn to infer and make predictions about characters and events in the story.  This is one reason why a big part of our reading routine involves a “picture walk.”  There is a magical journey to be had prior to reading the words in a story and this pre-reading activity has become a meaningful bonding opportunity for the boys and a powerful strategy for engaging them in the story.


#2. Make a personal connection to the text.  Help your child think about how they can personally relate to the story, characters, setting, plot, etc.  Children find the most meaning when they relate with a story and the ability to make connections is a comprehension skill that will help them as they eventually learn to read independently.


#3. Activate background knowledge.  Brainstorm with your toddler about what he/she might already know about the topic.  Reading about an animal?  Think about when/if you saw that particular animal on your last trip to the zoo.  What did it look like?  What other information do you already have on the topic or theme you are about the explore in this new book?


#4. Make predictions along the way.  As you read, encourage your child to think about and add to the predictions you have made.  How does your prediction change with the story?  Ask open-ended questions that will encourage your child to use clues from the story to consider what might happen next.


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