Early Literacy

Books should be found everywhere; the bathroom, the bedroom, in the car, in baskets, under pillows - even outside. The best place to read to your child is anywhere you can be comfortable! Bring books with you on long and short trips. Even trips to the doctor's office and grocery store can be made more pleasant when your child has a book.

Share your enthusiasm about your reading and make sure your children see you reading for pleasure.

How to Recognize Quality Literature

Books should be meaningful to the children, with subjects they can make sense of and help them to make sense of their world. Good books encourage conversation and invite children to use their imagination. Great books make them laugh and heighten their sense of fun.

Illustrations should be visually pleasing but not overwhelming. Stories should help children to interact positively. Look for books that have a sense of rhythm, when the same phrase is repeated over and over again children can predict what is going to happen. Also look for "sparkling language." It is a misconception that books for young children should only have simple words.

Reading Aloud

Begin reading to your children as soon as possible, the younger the better. Read as often as you and the child have time for. Try to set aside at least one traditional time for stories each day and allow children a few minutes to settle down before you begin. Allow active children to draw or build while you read to them.

Start with picture books and move on to story books. Use plenty of expression when reading. If possible change your voice to fit the dialogue. Occasionally read above your child's intellectual level and challenge their minds. It is ok to paraphrase long descriptive passages for young readers.

Don't be unnerved by lots of questions, especially with young children. There is no time limit on reading a book but there is a time limit on your child's inquisitiveness.