Developing Early Literacy Skills — Tip #4

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 #4: Encourage their natural curiosity

Young children love to develop “islands of expertise,” or topics about which they care deeply and learn all they can—for example, a youngster may become obsessed with dinosaurs or trains. These nascent interests will eventually evolve into school subjects such as science or history, and you can encourage their development not only with experiences (such as a visit to the museum), or objects (like a train set), but also with books.

Find the things your little ones love to learn more about and look for books on those subjects. Don’t limit yourself to simply gathering facts, either (although that appeals to many kids). Look for fiction stories, magazine articles, and even poetry about your chosen topic. Your local library and your child’s teacher can be great resources for book recommendations, as can sites like Amazon.com, which can help you search for titles related to your favorite subject.

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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.

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