Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Teaching Toddlers to Read - Part I

Teaching Marino has been on my mind a lot lately. That may seem totally neurotic, considering he is just 25 months old, but my mother taught me how to read at 2 and a half. She also taught me to love to read, which I feel like is an important distinction. I hope to instill this same love of reading in Marino for 2 big reasons:

1. If you love to read, you can always entertain yourself, no matter where you are or what your financial circumstances are.

2. Even when you read for pleasure (including the chick lit I love reading in the summer), you continuously expose your mind to new things: new vocabulary, different perspectives, etc.

My mom introduced me to the book The Read Aloud Handbook. One of the key points in the book is that if reading is a pleasurable, comfortable thing for children to do with their parents, those feelings about reading will continue as the child grows into adulthood. (Another key point in the book is that the number of vocabulary words a child has been exposed to by the time they reach kindergarden is the greatest indicator of educational success throughout their life...quite a case for reading to your kids, huh?) I have great memories of sitting on my mom's lap in a rocking chair with her reading me stories. Even long after I was reading on my own, my father used to read me a chapter from a book each night, like A Cricket in Times Square, using different voices for all the characters. I loved it!

Marino is always on the move, so lately I've been attempting to read to him when he's eating (captive audience) and when he's tired. As much as I would love to have him reading all day, I make sure not to make reading a chore...I want it to be something fun he does with Mommy and Daddy, not something he HAS to do. If nothing else, it's undivided attention and he certainly loves that!

I asked my mother to write a guest blog (which I will post in the morning) about how she taught my brother and I to read as toddlers. Having not grown up with younger siblings or around children younger than me, the concepts behind teaching young children are unknown to me, so I found what my mother wrote really interesting. Hope you enjoy it!

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