What reading experts say
Reading for information is a life-long skill. Use the natural curiosity of children to introduce your child to the world of knowledge inside books. Including non-fiction will help to provide a balance and variety of genre in your child's reading. Children are curious, love to learn and enjoy exploring new ideas. Exposing your child to non-fiction will familiarize him with the structure of this type of book and will help him learn how to get information from the text. This early exposure will reflect positively in school.
There is evidence that a parent's beliefs and attitudes about reading will directly influence children's literacy skills. Parents who have respect for the information contained in books will pass that respect on to their children. Children need to know that learning happens all the time, not just at school.
What good readers know
Good readers enjoy a balance of fiction and non-fiction books. They enjoy using non-fiction books to answer questions they may have ("why do stars twinkle") and are excited to share with others the information they learn in their non-fiction books.
What parents can do to help children Grow Up Reading
- Encourage your child's natural curiosity by reading books about how things work, as well as books about inventions and "mistakes that worked." Read preschool science experiment books such as Mudpies to Magnets by Roberta Williams and create some great science experiments at home.
- Plan an outing to the zoo or a petting farm. Before your trip, read books about the animals that you plan to see. Plan out your trip on paper, based on the animals that your child seems to be the most interested in. This will reinforce the importance of learning to read.
- Plan an imaginary vacation. Read books about a variety of exciting places, especially about places that particularly interest your child. Include books about the sports, cultural attractions and popular foods found in those places. Ask a librarian to direct you to our extensive collection of multicultural cookbooks for kids, and create a meal that you could expect to see on your "vacation."
- Have your child create a "how to" book on a topic that he is especially interested in. Include photos, pictures from magazines and your child's drawings. Have your child provide the narrative as you write it down.
- Help your child find and cut out pictures of people and food from magazines and help him/her make a collage of a new version of Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs.
- Using the directions in Curious George Rides a Bike, make a hat out of newspaper.
- After reading Hansel and Gretel, make a gingerbread house with graham crackers, frosting and candy.
- Using food coloring, make some green eggs and ham and ask your child in what funny places he would like to eat them.
- Put eyes and a tail on cotton balls and dip them in paint to make mouse footprints on a large sheet of paper. Talk about what happens when the "mice" mix different colors.