Today's read-aloud authors, Frank Edwards and John Bianchi, write that a love of books and the habit of reading are affordable and lasting gifts that every parent can give to their children. Edwards and Bianchi offer these 10 Steps to a Kid Literate Family.
These suggestions first appeared in Canadian Family Magazine in April 1998. More from Edwards and Bianchi can be found on their Web site, www.pokeweed.com.
1. Start reading aloud to your child early, even before they can talk, and don't stop when they learn to read to themselves.
2. Make reading a part of the regular family routine, including bedtime reading, morning newspaper reading and library visits.
3. Show that reading is a useful skill. Toy assembly instructions, cake recipes and shopping lists provide practical reading experience with obvious rewards.
4. It takes a reader to shape a reader. When they see you reading, they will join you.
5. Read for the fun of it. Find the good books and forget the rest. If you aren't enjoying a story, they probably aren't either.
6. Ration TV as you ration junk food. Cola, chips and sitcoms may be great on Friday night but why ruin their taste for the really good stuff in life with a steady diet of empty calories and inane content?
7. Fill your home with books and magazines for the whole family. Make reading material part of the daily household clutter, from living room to bathroom.
8. Talk about what you are reading, doing and thinking -- and listen to what your children tell you in return. Conversation develops vocabulary and communications skills while it keeps you in touch with your child.
9. Play with words. Sing them, rhyme them, riddle them, turn them inside out and upside down. They are the tools of the imagination.
10. Explore the world together. Literacy isn't just about words and reading. Fertile minds need to be exposed to nature -- and music and theater and movies. By broadening the experiences of children, you are increasing their curiosity and their tolerance for new ideas and challenges.
-- Susan Rapp, director of the Village Reading Center