March is National Literacy Month: Here’s How to Raise a Reader

March is National Literacy Month, a month dedicated to the importance of learning to read. If you have a preschooler on your hands you might be wondering if you’re doing everything you can to help them get reading-ready by kindergarten. While there are all sorts of companies that would have you believe kids need special apps and lots of screentime to read, it turns out that the best ways to learn rely on a lot of old fashioned (and naturally snuggly) methods. For National Literacy Month, try out the tips below to help your child develop a lifelong love of learning.

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Image via Unsplash/ Ben White

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Snuggle up and read

One of the very best things you can do for your child is read to them early and often. Start reading to your little one even before they understand language, and you’ll see the benefits later on. If might feel a little weird to read to a newborn but, when you make book time a part of their life they’ll learn to associate reading with that wonderful all-cuddled-up feeling they get when you’re snuggling them.

Help your baby read the pictures

Even before your child can talk you can ask them to help you read the pictures. Your child will be able to point out different objects, animals, and people in books starting before their first birthday and doing so will help prime their brain the important skills they’ll need later on when they begin to read.

Let your child take a guess

Once your child can talk, start asking them to guess what a book might be about, or what might happen on the next page, based on what they see happening in the pictures. This sort of guessing helps prime a little one’s brain for early literacy and will have them ready to read before you know it!

Play games

Preschoolers love games but you don’t need fancy apps or flashcards to help them learn their letters. Instead, play games by spotting letters as you drive down the road or push them through the grocery store. As they mature, you can ask them to help identify letter combinations and send them on scavenger hunts for things that start with different letters or letter sounds. You can also incorporate some of their favorite hide and find games on paper or using a whiteboard to help them learn and grow.

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Engage their existing interests

Kids love to learn about things they like. As your child matures and gets closer to early reading, consider incorporating their existing interests in books and characters like Pete the Cat in materials you bring home for them to practice with or read. No matter your little one’s interests there are books that address them and having them to read will encourage your kiddo to practice!

Have fun during National Literacy Month!

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March is National Literacy Month: Here’s How to Raise a Reader

Julia Pelly has a master's degree in public health and works full time in the field of positive youth development. Julia loves hiking after work, swimming during the summer and taking long, cuddly afternoon naps with her two sons on the weekends. Julia lives in North Carolina, with her husband and two young boys. You can find more of her work at JuliaPelly.com ... More

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