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Oregon Family Magazine

Raising Eager Readers

09/07/2010 23:51 ● By Anonymous
Exposure to books in the early childhood stages plays a key role in a child's reading development, and while most parents and caregivers know that children benefit from reading time, many struggle to fit it into their children's hectic schedules.

A survey conducted on behalf of VTech, an electronic learning products provider, found that more than 40 percent of moms with children ages 3 to 7 years old said that not having enough time to spend reading with their children is the biggest challenge they face in trying to make reading a daily activity. And nearly half wished there were ways to include reading in their child's on-the-go schedule.

Fortunately, there are plenty of fun and practical ways to make reading a part of everyday family life.

Making Reading Fun You can help a child develop reading skills even when you're running errands or doing activities together. By going places and doing things with children, you help build their background knowledge and vocabulary, giving them a basis for understanding what they read.

Telling stories and interacting with each other while on the go helps them develop their listening and thinking skills.

And now there are technologies that let you take interesting reading material wherever you go. The new V.Reader, the first interactive, animated e-book system for children, creates an engaging reading experience for early readers, ages 3 to 7, so they love to learn to read.

The touch-and-read e-book brings stories to life with narration, characters, animation, graphics, sounds and music. Kids interact as they listen and follow along with a story, or touch the screen and play games to learn each word and sentence. To find out more about the V.Reader and to download titles, visit www.vtechkids.com

Create a Reading-Friendly Environment Research shows that lack of access to books and educational materials is the single greatest barrier to literacy development in the US and beyond. Books, magazines, newspapers and other reading tools should be within easy reach of the whole family. Try designating a bookcase or shelf where children can keep a personal library.

According to First Book, a nonprofit organization that provides new books to children in need, a steady stream of new, age-appropriate books has been shown to nearly triple interest in reading within months. By visiting www.firstbook.org, families, teachers and reading programs can help children from low-income communities build their own home libraries and start the journey to becoming lifelong readers.

Some other tips for helping young readers develop include: - Read with your child every day, even if it's just for a few minutes. - Ask open-ended questions, such as "What do you think is going to happen next?" or "Why do you think he did that?" - Read your child's favorite book over and over. - Find out what interests your child and get reading materials to feed that interest. - Let children see you read and invite them to read with you.

The US Department of Education (DOE) also recommends that when reading a book aloud to young children, point to each word as you read. This helps the child make a visual connection - that the word said is the word seen.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images