On Mother’s Day, help your kids cuddle up with books
May 7, 2011
EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado – Mother’s Day is a celebration of honoring mothers as their children’s first teachers. The Literacy Project’s Raising a Reader program, an evidence-based early-childhood literacy and parent-engagement program, offers the following tips to parents for engaging and educating their young children through “book cuddling”:
• Tips for infants: Snuggle up with your baby! The baby will feel secure from being close and hearing your voice. It’s OK to let your baby touch and hold the book. Choose books with simple, clear pictures. Babies like faces and bold, high-contrast pictures. Rhymes, songs and simple, soothing text appeal to babies.
• Tips for toddlers: Encourage your toddler to make sounds and movement to describe the story. Choose books that are predictable, repetitive or encourage sound and movement. Encourage your toddler to make sounds and movement to describe the story! Toddlers take comfort in routine and repetition. Try to find a consistent time and/or place to share books.
• Tips for preschoolers: Offer a variety of books! Include counting books, alphabet books and animal books. Your preschooler may want to “read” to you – that’s great! Let them read (or tell) the story. Preschoolers love stories about friends and family.
• Tips for children with special needs: Recognize your child’s attempt to communicate, even if meaning is uncertain. Remember that physical disabilities do not always mean the child does not understand. Allow sufficient time and support when asking a question. Relax, and have fun!
The Literacy Project serves 400 families and children in Eagle County. Raising a Reader rotates bright-red bags filled with award-winning books into children’s homes on a weekly basis. At the end of the program, children receive their own blue library bag to keep and continue the practice of borrowing books and “book cuddling.”
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“When parents learn to engage in read-aloud strategies and develop a regular routine of teaching their young children through book cuddling, the children in our program not only learn to love their time with books but the more ready they are for school,” said Colleen Gray, executive director. “The more prepared a child is for kindergarten, the more likely he or she is to enter school with the reading readiness skills to be successful.”
For example, Susanna Ramirez has discovered that regularly reading aloud to her 4-year-old child has not only increased the amount of time they spend together but has grown her child’s vocabulary and creative thinking.
“Reading to my daughter every night is time I treasure and is getting her ready for kindergarten,” Ramirez said.