The Free Press, Mankato, MN


February 8, 2014

Early Childhood Showcase: February is I Love to Read Month


February is I Love to Read Month

This week's showcase is courtesy of Mankato's READY! for Kindergarten program:

Target skill: I am read to 20 minutes each day. Start today — it's never too late.

Spotlight on research: A good home literacy environment includes parents reading (books, magazines, newspapers, mail), writing (shopping lists, menus, checks, letters), opportunities and materials for children to write and draw, the number of books in the home, library visits as well as chances for the child to “read” independently and with adults.

Your child thrives on loving interactions with you so you don’t have to be a great reader to give your child the benefit of books.

Infants and toddlers: Small children can interact with books with adult direction. Select colorful, simple books with just one picture per page. Books that can be handled and maybe even cleaned are ideal for this age group. Use your reading time to cuddle and establish your reading routine. Start with just a few minutes. Try these prompts as you read:

“Let’s touch the _____.” “Good job! You touched the _____!” (Celebrate with a clap.)

Older babies and busy toddlers might like their story times in the bathtub, the high chair or snuggling before naptime. They will be able to show you an item on the page when you prompt them (“Where is the puppy?”).

Preschoolers: As children become more experienced with books they can talk about the characters with you, remember details you’ve just read, or fill in a word that you’ve left out. Ask them “what” and “how” questions about what you are reading. The 4-5 year old can begin to “write” stories of their own. Remember that a story has a beginning, a middle and an end. Add original illustrations. Writing about a familiar event, such as a visit at Grandma’s house, will make this activity personal.

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