Reading is all around us even if you are not holding a book , you are reading in many different ways! At a very young age your child can recognize the big yellow M that is at every McDonald restaurant or the D that is so distinctive on all Disney products! All of this early symbol recognition is part of reading but there is more to reading then decoding.
Beyond being able to recognize symbols, it is important that children learn young to reflect on their reading. Many parents cherish the moment before bed cuddled with their young child with a book. That connection can continue as your child gets older if you continue to discuss what they are reading .
You don’t need to read their book, you just need to get the conversation going with open-ended questions or very specific ones and see if your child can answer with details or too much generalities that might tell you the reading is not going well!
When trying to start a conversation about their reading, you can ask about the main character, does the author describe the character so that your child gets a glimpse of his personality. Has your child read enough to be able to physically describe the characters. Ask about the intrigue / problem, then you can continue the conversation and ask your child if that reminds them of an event that they know about or another book. Maybe you can make a connection to something you read as a child. Ask about how the situation you last discussed together has evolved or been resolved. If you take the habit of asking about what your child is reading, you might be surprised that one day your child will come to you to share “what is happening“ in the book!
Sharing your own readings is also important. Children need to see that reading is NOT only homework it is a skill we use throughout life. Sharing your interest in a book, the big task of reading this report for your work, discussing the stats of the last sport game or comparing the nutritional values on the cereal boxes with your child are many ways to show them that reading is used daily and for many different reasons and it gives you a few minutes of meaningful and interested conversation!
In another entry we will discuss titles, collections, websites and apps where you could find great reads!