“One of the greatest gifts adults can give – to their offspring and to their society – is to read to children." - Carl Sagan
Don’t underestimate the power of reading aloud to your child! When families take the time to read aloud to their children they are building vocabulary, developing connections between written and spoken word, increasing attention span, modeling fluent reading, and strengthening cognition. Most importantly, it builds a strong bond between parent and child. In addition, reading aloud to your child provides enjoyment and entertainment that is more cognitively stimulating than watching television.
The National Institute for Literacy has compiled science-based suggestions which include:
1) Start from birth by talking to your child and responding to their attempts to "baby talk"
2) Have your child use their imagination and make up stories -- and ask lots of questions about those invented tales
3) Pick books with interesting characters -- and don't be afraid to role play with different accents and voices for the characters
4) Have your child point to pictures and describe them. Encourage complete sentences.
5) Help your child sound out words, then say the word they heard.
6) Finally, enjoy yourself!
If you are looking for more tips and advice check out Sarah Mackenzie’s podcast called “Read Aloud Revival”. She is an experienced homeschool teacher and mother for her six children. Sarah releases a new educational podcast every couple weeks that is packed full of practical strategies that you can try at home!