Q:

How can parents get kids off to a good start in reading? -- For Future Readers

A:

Getting children to love books and to enjoy reading is a process that needs to start when they are very young -- as young as a few days old. Start by holding the child in your lap to help the child feel that reading is a warm, nurturing experience. Choose books that have bright colors and simple patterns for a child's first book. Talk about the book as you turn the pages. At first, the child may not pay much attention to the book; however, this will change.

For toddlers, choose cloth books for very young children and small, heavy cardboard books for young toddler hands. You don't want to worry about children destroying their first books. Also, make sure that your child has his or her own library of books. Young children like magazines, too. Find a special place for your child's magazines to avoid his or her destroying current issues that you want to read. To prepare a young child for beginning reading instruction, be sure to read lots of books with many rhyming words.

You must always read to your children as much as possible. Read storybooks, read menus, read labels on cereal boxes, just read, read, read and read some more. It also helps to do some informal teaching, such as pointing out words on signs, identifying rhyming sounds and naming alphabet letters. Seeing you with your nose buried in a book or newspaper will also help them become eager to read.