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Using Language to Learn: Reading

print knowledge 85Preschoolers like many different kinds of books.

Look for paperback versions of your child's favorite books. Encourage family and friends to swap books and give them as gifts. And remember that yard sales and neighborhood bazaars often have very inexpensive secondhand children's books.

Make regular trips to the library to borrow books, tapes, and other materials. If possible, have your child get his own library card.

Let your child see herself in books. Choose books about families like yours and people from your culture and ethnic group.

Ask the children's librarian at your local library to suggest books for your child. Get ideas from other families, caregivers, and people who know your child well.

Look for books that match your child's experiences: a special interest (bugs), something familiar (going to child care), a new event (going to the dentist), or a change in the family (the birth of a baby).

Preschoolers are more likely to learn to love books if they are read to.

Set aside a time each day when you and your child can relax and read together. Make these special times when you enjoy each other's company and explore the new worlds and ideas found in books. Children who are read to are more likely to love books and to be strong readers.

Read with lots of enthusiasm. Change your voice to fit different characters and feelings (sad, excited, happy, etc.).

Expect and encourage interruptions. Stop to talk about the pictures and the story in each book, and the ways they relate to your child's life. Ask and answer questions. Add information to help your child understand the story. "Blueberries are easy to pick because they grow on low bushes. Remember when we saw blueberries in the supermarket?"

Preschoolers learn about reading when they look at books by themselves and when they see adults reading.

Set up a reading shelf, basket, or corner where your child can reach books without help. Store books upright so that she can easily find the one she's looking for. Almost any room in the home -- kitchen, bathroom, living room, or bedroom -- is a good place to keep books.

Bring along a bag of books when you leave home. Your child can read on the bus or subway, in a car, at the laundromat, and at the doctor's office.

Show your child that reading is an important and useful skill. Children love to imitate adults. A child who sees you enjoying a book or magazine will want to do the same.

Show your child how you use books, newspapers, and other written materials to find out what time a store opens, what the weather will be like, or what you need for a recipe.

Source: America Reads Challenge: Ready*Set*Read for Families, America Reads

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