As teachers of young children, we are often asked by parents, “What can I do at home to help my child learn to read?” In
Jim Trelease’s book, The Read Aloud Handbook, he states that in many cases, children who learn to read before beginning school have not been given any formal reading instruction at home, but have been immersed in a language rich environment throughout their young lives. Reading is meaningful, entertaining, and comforting to these children. There are several factors that influence a child’s ability to read before formal training begins:
  • The child is read to daily. This includes books, signs, cereal boxes, menus and environmental print such as McDonald’s or Burger King.
  • A wide variety of material is available at home. Books, magazines, newspapers, easy readers, nursery rhymes, and classic stories fill the home.
  • Paper, pencils, and crayons are provided for the child. The child is encouraged to explore written communication. This begins with scribbles and eventually develops into drawings and beginning letter formations.
  • Interest in reading and writing is stimulated by the parents. The child’s interest and desire to read is increased by the parent’s encouragement, enthusiasm towards books, trips to the library, and writing stories that the child dictates. You are your child’s first teacher.
  • Your willingness to spend time reading with your child greatly influences his or her progress.
  • As you read with your child during the summer, please fill in this lap reading log for July and August. Keeping the log in a prominent place, such as on the refrigerator door, will make it easier to record the date and number of minutes that you read together.