Research shows that children learn about reading before they enter school. In fact, they learn in the best manner-through observation. Young children, for example, see people around them reading newspapers, books, maps, and signs.
Parents can do a lot to foster an understanding of print by talking with their preschoolers about signs in their environment and by letting their children know they enjoy reading themselves.
When reading to your preschooler, you should run your index finger under the line of print. This procedure is simple and helps children begin to notice words and that words have meaning. They also gain an awareness of the conventions of reading (e.g., one reads from left to right and from the top of the page to the bottom; sentences are made up of words; and some sentences extend beyond a single line of print).
In the early elementary years, from first through third grades, children continue learning how to read. It is a complex process, difficult for some and easy for others. Care must be taken during these early years not to overemphasize the learning-to-read process.
Reading for pleasure and information develops reading interests and offers children the opportunity to practice their reading skills in meaningful ways. Parents of elementary-age children should provide reading materials in the home that arouse curiosity or extend their child's natural interest in the world around them.
By encouraging and modeling leisure-time reading in the home, parents take the most important step in fostering their child's reading development.
Current research in reading reveals three important considerations for parents and teachers:
The following suggestions have been beneficial to many parents: