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Tips for Parents of Young Readers

Every parent would like their child to be excited about reading. Children learn through repetition and will often ask a parent to read a favorite bedtime story again. Being a parent can be exhausting, exhilarating and rewarding. Witnessing a child's first attempt to read can be excruciatingly difficult. As parents, we instinctively want to assist our children with everything they do. We read to them for a long time before they begin to read for themselves. Being patient and willing to re-read a favorite story to a child may provide the young reader with the atmosphere needed for learning.

Being patient with young children is challenging at times. Preschoolers, kindergarten aged children and elementary students all require massive amounts of attention and patience. Most parents know whether or not they have the patience to provide an atmosphere for learning. Parents that are uncertain about this can test themselves and analyze the environment. Is the child encouraged to read by example or is there a lack of patience which translates into a discouraging atmosphere. If a young reader is not confident and patience is lacking the child will not want to learn. Children need encouragement and adults that will read to them until they are developmentally ready to begin reading. Patience, repetition and an atmosphere of encouragement will provide a young reader with a positive experience. Children want to do what they enjoy.

Ways to help children enjoy reading include: providing fun activities like creating a story about stuffed animals, taking photos of favorite stuffed animals while on a family outing and later bringing them to life on paper! There are a variety of ways in which any adult can encourage a child to read. An aunt or uncle, grandmother or grandfather can provide children with colored pencils, photos and 11 x 17 paper to create a keepsake storybook. With tape or Elmer's glue, the photos can be attached to the tops of the pages and the story can be added below. Folding 11 x 17 art paper makes a nice big storybook with plenty of space for photos and words on each page! Having fun with children while helping them to learn is exciting when it results in a successful young reader. Children begin reading words by sight long before they know phonics if the adults in their lives read stories to them daily.

The youngest readers I have known were those children that were given a routine opportunity to hear a story. Reading before naps and bedtime in the evenings is a great way to become consistent. Reading to children also provides one on one time and allows them to relax before going to sleep. Most young children enjoy the attention and will become accustomed to having stories read to them. As boring as it may seem to an adult to repeat a story like Dr. Seuss's Green Eggs and Ham, children love hearing it a second time! Before a parent realizes it, the child can read the entire book from memory. Eventually, the words are being recognized by sight by the child. Let books become a child's favorite toy and with consistency, the child will become an early reader!