What is one of the greatest gifts you can give your children…something that will help them develop critical thinking skills that will last their entire lifetime? The answer is the love of reading.
According to Samantha Stern, training and development director for Ebenezer Child Care Centers, “Research has proven that children who learn to love the essential life skill of reading at an early age are more likely to develop better writing and thinking skills. Therefore, it is imperative for parents to introduce reading at an early age and constantly reinforce the importance of it.”
Stern says there are some simple things you can do to foster the love of reading in your children.
Read Aloud to Your Children
According to the National Commission on Reading, “Reading aloud to children is the single most important intervention for developing literacy skills, and children who are read to from an early age are more successful at learning to read.”
Stern recommends that, as soon as you bring your children home from the hospital, you incorporate at least 15 minutes of reading aloud time into your daily routine. This activity will help to stimulate your children’s brain cells and also to strengthen the connections among the brain cells.
She says you should start with simple board books that have bright colors and repetitive phrases and textures. Then, as your children grow, you can read books with more substantial content that will hold their attention and keep them captivated.
Stern also recommends that, as your children learn to read, you still continue to read books that are of interest to them but that are harder than what they can read by themselves.
“Continuing to read aloud to your school-age children helps them to further expand their vocabulary and learn more complex concepts about subjects of interest to them,” says Stern. “Its importance cannot be understated.”
Be a Role Model
Children love to do the things their parents do, and Stern says that, if your children see you enjoying a good book, they will be more likely to sit and read as well.
Likewise, if your children see you involved in a book club, they may ask to be involved in a book club.
“One great activity for families with young readers is to have a unified ‘quiet time’ where everyone gets to enjoy their own personal book,” adds Stern. “Then following the quiet time, you can all talk about what you are reading and what you are each enjoying about your book.”
Surround Your Family with Books
Stern says to help foster a love a reading in your children, you need to surround them with books. She suggests that you take weekly trips to the public library and that you help your children select books that are of interest to them. She also recommends helping them build a home library by purchasing books as gifts for birthdays, holidays, and other special events.
“If your budget doesn’t allow you to purchase new books, check out rummage sales, thrift stores, or one of the many used book stores in the area,” says Stern. “All of these options offer great books for incredibly low prices.”
Stern says that giving your children the opportunity to build their own special library with books that interest them shows that your family places a strong value on reading, and that your family sees reading as an important activity to ensure their future success.
Ebenezer will be hosting a FREE Family Fun Night on “Early Reading Promotes Better Thinking” on Wednesday, May 11,from 4:30-6:30 p.m. at Ebenezer Child Care Centers’ Oak Creek location, located at 220 West Forest Hill Avenue. Come and learn how to give your children an edge in their education through reading! Activities for this Family Fun Night will include looking at a variety of different types of reading material, making pantry letters, and putting on puppet shows. In addition to the activities, you will have the opportunity to enjoy dinner on us! Registration is required. Please call 414-643-5070 to register.
Ebenezer Child Care Centers is a not-for-profit, locally based agency committed to providing early childhood programs from the heart.
The agency prides itself on being different from other child care providers in that it offers a home-like atmosphere; individualized, nurturing care; and a structured curriculum that is virtues-based for every child’s developmental stage.
Every Ebenezer Child Care Center focuses on all aspects of a child’s development: cognitive, physical, emotional, and social. In addition to providing quality care, the agency also offers a variety of free Family Fun Nights and other educational programming all aimed at helping parents.
The agency has locations in downtown Milwaukee, on Milwaukee’s southside, and in Greenfield, Mequon, Oak Creek, and Wauwatosa. The agency’s main office is located at 1496 South 29th Street, Milwaukee. For more information, please call 414-643-5070 or visit the agency’s website at https://www.ebenezerchildcare.com/.