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Reading to Young Children

At Tender Times Child Care, reading is an important part of our daily routine.  Parents and 

caregivers, I encourage you to read to your child every day. What a perfect way to wind 

down a busy day by snuggling with your child with a few good books. 


Research has identified five early reading skills that are essential to

young children:  

1.  Phonemic Awareness: Being able to hear, identify, and play with individual sounds

       in spoken words.

2.  Phonics: Being able to connect the letter with written language with the sounds of

       spoken language.

3.  Vocabulary:  The words kids need to know to communicate effectively.

4.  Reading Comprehension: Being able to understand and get meaning from what is 


5.  Fluency (oral reading):  Being able to read text accurately and quickly.  (1)


Tips for Reading to Young Children:

1.  Snuggle with your child with her favorite blanket or toys as you read.

2.  Read with expression using different voice for different characters.

3.  Emphasize rhythms and rhymes in stories.  Give your toddler opportunities to repeat

     rhyming phrases.

4.  Encourage your child to repeat what you say or comment on it.  Encourage your child to 

      ask questions.  Provide models of interesting questions and possible answers.

5.  Look for books that are about things that interest your child.  For example, does your 

     child like cars, insects, or animals?

6.  Give your child a chance to choose his own books for reading.  

7.  Read stories again and again.  Your child enjoys repetition, and it helps her become

     familiar with the way stories are organized.  

8.  If your child is curious and is making comments about letters, there is no reason why 

     he should not become familiar with the alphabet before he starts school.  

9.  Make books a joyous and important part of your child’s life. Read to him every day. Let

     him talk about the stories and pictures.  Ask him to point out pictured objects that are

     alike and different in color and shape.  

10. Avoid baby talk.  Speak to your child in grownup language now, so she will recognize

      words she sees and hears in the classroom.  Also, baby words for objects may be 

      laughed at by the other youngsters.

11. Provide a variety of experiences.  Take your child to the zoo, the park, the airport.  Teach

      your child the name of animals, flowers, etc.  In order to understand the words 

      encountered in reading, first hand experience is best.

12. Set a good example as a reader-read every day at home even if it is a magazine or


13. Make reading fun--a time that you both look forward to spending together. (2)


     (1) University of Michigan Health System

     (2) National Education Association

Read To Me

By Jane Yolen 

Read to me riddles and read to me rhymes, 
Read to me stories of magical times. 
Read to me tales about castles and kings. 
Read to me stories of fabulous things. 
Read to me pirates and read to me knights, 
Read to me dragons and dragon-book fights. 
Read to me spaceships and cowboys and then, 
When you are finished -- please read them again.

Look in a Book 
by Ivy O. Eastwick 

in a book 
and you will see 
and magic 
and mystery. 

in a book 
and you will find 
and nonsense 
of every kind. 

in a book 
and you will know 
the things 
that can help you grow

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