Tips for Parents: Reading Time With Your Preschooler

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The Reading-Time Conundrum

Bright Hub Education’s Cheryl Gabbert – in her article entitled “Early Literacy Tips for Parents” – explains that it is the parent, not the teacher, who will have the most influence on a child’s ability to form good reading habits. Professionals are well aware of this fact, and for this reason the back-to-school parent handouts usually ask that parents read books with their child and also page through magazines and other reading materials.

Parents know that this information is vital and correct, yet when it comes to implementing these tips against the backdrop of a busy lifestyle that might include more than one child, reading activities soon become optional tasks that are pushed aside. After all, if a third grader requires help with math homework, non-compulsory reading time for a preschooler must yield to meet the needs of the older child. Thereafter, it is often times bedtime for the preschooler, and another opportunity for leisurely reading is lost.

What Parents Can Do

Read together daily, even if it is not a book.

Make the most of reading opportunities as they present themselves. This includes reading the words on canned goods at the grocery store, traffic signs while in transit or billboards you might see while walking. There are ample reading opportunities all around. If you know that you have a hectic day and evening ahead of you, focus on making reading happen as you go along. Even though this is not as productive as actually sitting down for 20 minutes and reading a book together, it is preferable over doing nothing.

Emphasize your enjoyment of reading.

Make sure that your preschooler sees you reading. Make a point of reading the ingredients list of a box of Hamburger Helper or looking at a colorful grocery store advertisement. Verbalize that reading is fun, useful, and makes for a great hobby. Wet your child’s appetite for learning to read by letting her or him know – in a confidential tone of voice – once he knows how to read, nobody will be able to keep anything secret.

Make reading fun, not a chore.

Do not try to cram a week’s worth of reading time into a Saturday afternoon. That being said, sometimes even 20 minutes of reading is simply too much for a tired, cranky, or antsy child. Adjust the reading time to fit the occasion, and make sure that it is an enjoyable occasion, not one that the child begins to associate with a must-do chore.

Kick It Up a Notch

Now that you have real-life ways of implementing tips for preschool parents on reading, fine-tune the reading practice with your child. The experts at Reading Is Fundamental suggest that you draw the child into the reading experience by asking questions about a picture in a book or on a box, and encouraging the child to make the connection between the pictures and the content of the story or reading material.

Invite the child to hypothesize about what might happen next, the rationale behind a character’s actions, and also evaluate possible differences between an expected and an actual story outcome. This turns reading into a vibrant opportunity for not only fostering the child’s love for books but also offers plentiful openings for honing critical and creative thinking skills.


Reading is Fundamental –