The more you expose children to language, explains Linda Phillips, director of the Canadian Centre for Research on Literacy at the University of Alberta in Calgary, the easier reading will come. This means talking, singing, cuddling, playing - any way you can engage your child with words. Philips gives the example of grocery shopping. "Parents do this all the time.. "Oh, we need some oranges, where are the oranges?" And your toddler is looking around, finding the oranges."
The richer the child's vocabulary, the more confident he'll feel about reading. Talk to your child as your walking down the street, eating a meal, shopping....literally everywhere! Use big words to pump up your child's vocabulary and it will pay off later.
Also linked to your child's enthusiasm to read is the fact he sees you reading. When it comes to passing on the habit of reading to your child it's more about exposure than disposition or genetics. Always have loads of books around your home for him to see and use.
Usually a child will pretend to read even before they know what words actually are!
Even babies can feel positive about reading. Although they may not be able to focus on the pictures or understand the words they will relish the soothing tones of the adult that is reading to them. They also love to hold and chew on board books. So go ahead and let them handle and goober all over those books! Simply being around books can turn him into a reader later on in his life.
When your child choses George and Martha for his bedtime story for the 17th time, try not to groan. Hearing stories over and over is critical for memory development. The repetition allows your child to absorb additional information from the story. The day is coming when your child will pretend to read his favourite book, telling you the story in his own words. This means he now understands the process!
Have a daily ritual of reading one (or more) books per day to your child. Make each session an engaging, snuggling and fun time. Trust me, all your reading input will help develop your child into an avid, successful reader farther down the road.
Read on and read always!