Reading All Around

Snuggling up with a good book before bed is only one way to read with your child.  Here are some reading opportunities you may not have thought of:

     - Read the newspaper together. Look at the comics. Some newspapers have a children's section with games.  Check out the weather map or find sports scores for local teams. Just look at some pictures and captions. 

     - Read through the grocery store.  Have your child help cut coupons or make the grocery list.  Read the list together at the store.  Look for familiar words/letters on food packages. 

     - Read magazines together.  Of course tabloids and many entertainment magazines are not appropriate for young children!  Think decorating, cooking, animals, special interest magazines.  You may want to look into a magazine subscription for your child.  Many publishers now have subscriptions with simple pictures and text for children as young as two.

     - Read signs.  There is print everywhere you look.  Point out signs for restaurants, banks, stores, gas stations, etc.  Look for stop signs and street signs.  You can do this in the car or just walking through the neighborhood.  Notice the familiar signs that you pass many times in your weekly routine and make a game of finding the letters.

     - Read while you wait.  We spent lots of time waiting for an appointment, waiting to pick someone up, waiting in line.  In line at the store you can read packages and signs.  Keep a basket or bag of books in the car and keep one or two in your purse or bag.  Read or just look at books together when you are caught waiting.  Children can look at books in the car if it doesn't make them carsick.

     - Read in the kitchen.  Have your child help read recipes when you cook together.  Again, don't forget food labels.  Even if your child can't read all the words, he/she can look for familiar letters and may begin to recognize brand names.

     - Play games.  While early board games won't have much reading involved, they are still a great way to bond and have fun as a family.  Playing games together will become a wonderful family habit.  As your child gets older you will be able to enjoy lots of games with reading elements.

     - Write together.  Reading and writing work together.  Write letters to family members. Keep a family journal you can revisit together.  Put labels on things around the house.  Enthusiasm for writing can go hand-in-hand with enthusiasm for reading.

      - Act it out! After you've enjoyed a great book together, act out the story.  You can make puppets, draw scenes from the story, or just pretend to be the characters.  
     - Talk, sing, talk, sing, and talk some more.  The more words your child hears the better.  Think beyond books and just make sure to have conversations with your child.  Sing songs together. Recite nursery rhymes.  Do finger plays.  Share language in any way you can.