November is Family Literacy Month
The importance of reading
November is Massachusetts Family Literacy Month. Reading skills are important for each member of your family to be successful in whatever you do. Children who are read to and learn to read from an early age are more likely to become better learners and succeed in other areas of their education.
How to raise a reader
- Make reading routine. Starting when your child is a baby, set aside time to read to her every single day. Reading out loud to children makes them better listeners. As your child gets older and starts to read on her own, continue to encourage her to read every day. Make reading a family activity by sitting with your child while she read and ask her to tell you about the book, magazine, or newspaper she is reading.
- Read and re-read. Children like to listen to their favorite stories over and over again. This actually helps them learn to read as they recognize and remember words. If you are reading to your child, ask him to participate by turning the pages, talking about the pictures, asking questions, and/or discussing the story when it ends. You can also point to words as you read. Let your child choose books that he is interested in reading or having read to him; as he gets comfortable, he will move onto different books.
- Reinforce reading. Aside from the traditional activities of reading a book to your child or having her sit down and read to herself, there are many other every-day activities that support reading. These include things like pointing out words on signs to your child as you are driving, singing a song together to promote her language development, or having your young child name objects that you point out or that start with a certain letter of the alphabet.
- Know reading resources. Your local library is the best resource available to you and your child. Even young children can get their own library card, and it is free to borrow books. Most libraries offer fun and free activities for children, such as story hour. They also work with schools to create summer reading programs for children in all grades, and can help you and your child find the right book. To find your local library, visit http://mblc.state.ma.us/libraries/directory/index.php.
For more information on Massachusetts Family Literacy Month and for Massachusetts literacy facts, information, activities in your area, and resources, visit the Massachusetts Family Literacy Consortium.
This information was compiled by Sunindia Bhalla, and reviewed by the Program Staff of the Massachusetts Children’s Trust Fund.