This week, early childhood development and literacy advocates across the country are celebrating the life and work of Theodor Seuss Geisel. The author, also known as Dr. Seuss, was born on March 2, 1904. In honor of his birthday, why not commit to reading more with the children in your life? We here at Bright Beginnings invite you to explore a new book and experience the power of reading together.
Check out one of Dr. Seuss’s colorful stories and enter the richly imaginative, fantastical worlds brought to life through his words and illustrations. From The Cat in the Hat, to Green Eggs and Ham, to The Lorax and many more, there is no shortage of fun to be had, all while stimulating children’s natural curiosity and promoting language development.
Remember, the foundation for early literacy is laid in the first several years of life. While children do not actually read before 3, they do learn that reading is fun and interesting. They develop print awareness, noticing that other people use reading and writing in daily life and enjoy it, and that letters and words are all around them. They also build phonemic awareness, recognizing sounds and patterns in the language they hear and speak. This interest in language is critical for later success when children begin to read on their own. And, the more words children hear early on, the greater their vocabulary when they enter kindergarten.
So, be sure to engage the children in your life by reading, talking, listening and singing together every day! Here are a few tips to guide you:
- Let children help choose the books you read together.
- Find a comfortable and quiet place to sit closely together while you read.
- Read with fun in your voice; make the story come to life with humor and expressions.
- Use the pictures and objects in the book to engage children as you read. Imitate animal sounds, point to objects and say their names. Ask children to name objects, practice saying words with them and praise their efforts to verbalize.
- When children are a bit older (24-36 months), talk about the story you’ve just read. Ask questions about what happened at the beginning, middle and end of the story.
- Take children to the library regularly and explore different kinds of books.
- Know when to stop. Put the book away for a while if children lose interest.
Do you have another tip for making reading fun and engaging? Perhaps you already have a favorite Dr. Seuss book, or you’ve recently discovered a new one? Share it with us!