Each day this week, in honor of International Literacy Day (September 8) and the back-to-school season, we are posting practical, research-based tips for encouraging young readers.
By Chazmin Baechler
Tip #1: Be your child’s first and best reading role model
As any parent who’s ever said a “bad word” in front of a two-year-old can tell you, kids are constantly observing the adults in their lives, ready to mimic their actions and words. Use that power for good when it comes to reading by showing (and not just telling) your child how important and fun reading can be every day. Let your children see you reading for enjoyment and information as often as possible. What if you barely have time to make dinner let alone pick up a novel? No problem! Reading isn’t limited to devouring the latest on the bestseller list. Think of how many times, and in how many ways, you do the task of reading each day: news on your tablet or computer, sale flyers for the grocery store, signs and packaging all around you, emails from friends, and on and on. If you make a habit of noting that incidental reading to your child, he or she will start to recognize that reading happens all day, every day, and not just at story time.
Chazmin Baechler holds a Masters of Science in Education degree from Northwestern University and taught second grade in Chicago and Wilmette, IL. She currently works as a freelance educational consultant in Geneva, IL, where she lives with her husband and son. You can reach her at chazminbaechler (at) gmail (dot) com.