What is one of the greatest gifts you can give your children…something that will last their entire lifetime and give them the ability to do anything or go anywhere?
According to Beverly Anderson, Executive Director of Ebenezer Child Care Centers with locations in Downtown Milwaukee, Milwaukee’s southside, Oak Creek, and Wauwatosa, “Reading is a vital life skill that will allow children to learn and excel in school, so taking the time to stress the importance of reading is truly one of the greatest gifts parents can give their children.”
Anderson says there are some simple things you can do to foster the love of reading in your children.
Read Aloud to Your Children
Anderson recommends that, as soon as you bring your children home from the hospital, you begin incorporating at least 15 minutes of reading out loud into your daily routine with them.
She says you should start with simple board books that have bright colors, repetitive phrases, and textures. Then, as your children grow, you can read books with more substantial content that holds their attention and keeps them captivated.
“If your children grow up being read to, it will be something they look forward to and enjoy having as part of their daily routine.”
Anderson also recommends that, as your children learn to read on their own, you still continue to read books out loud to them with content that is more difficult than what they can read on their own.
“Reading out loud to your children helps them develop a vocabulary they can’t yet read themselves. It also helps them to learn how to comprehend concepts, because they can ask questions about what they don’t understand,” says Anderson. “Its importance cannot be understated.”
Be a Role Model
Children love to do the things their parents do. Anderson says that if your children see you enjoying a good book, they will be more likely to grab a book, too.
As your children get older, Anderson suggests that you try to find reading material that you both enjoy, so you can read together. She also says that you should play off of children’s interests and hobbies, such as pets or sports by helping them find them reading material on those subjects.
Surround Your Family with Books
Anderson says to help foster a love a reading in your children, you should surround them with books. She suggests that you take weekly trips to the public library and allow your children to pick out books that interest them. She also suggests that you help your children build a home library of their own books by purchasing books to give as gifts for birthdays and other special events.
“If your budget doesn’t allow you to purchase new books, check out Goodwill, eBay, Craigslist, or Half Price Book Stores,” says Anderson. “All of these options offer great books for incredibly low prices. The Next Door Foundation also provides free books to families in need.”
Anderson 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 sees it as an important activity that the entire family can enjoy.
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 free Parenting Talks and other educational programming all aimed at helping parents.
The agency has locations in downtown Milwaukee, on Milwaukee’s southside, and in 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.