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1-180405556March 2nd is Read Across America Day and in Theodore Giesel’s (aka Dr. Seuss) own words: you’re never too old, too wacky, too wild to pick up a book and read with a child. With that in mind, this month’s Kid Venturesblog is all about reading and making sure your child gets the most out of this learning activity.

You know that reading is a crucial life skill. It is important to make sure your child understands this as well. To that end it is important to surround your child with books; make reading part of their daily routine and model reading for them. The more they see you read, the more they will see it as a normal part of life and the more likely they will be to adopt it as a lifelong habit.

When you’re reading with your child there are lots of things you can do to make storytime an especially engaging and beneficial activity for them. First off-be animated, use different voices for different characters. Talk about the pictures, what’s going on in the page and how it relates to the story. Show them the cover and ask them what they think the story will be about. These are context clues that help children draw conclusions based on their own life experiences. Ask them questions about the story. What do they think will happen next? Why do they think a character did something? Encourage your child to ask questions, even if it interrupts the story. If your child is old enough, take turns reading! Talk about the ways the story relates to their life. How is it different?

Use the five finger rule to determine a book’s appropriateness for your child’s reading level. Open to the middle of any book and have your child read that page. Every time they come to a word they know don’t know have them hold up one finger. If they hold up five or more fingers before the end of the page the book is too hard for them.

Keep in mind that there are two types of reading when it comes to children, learning to read and reading to learn. Most children transition out of the learning to read phase which focuses on phonics, sounding out words, sentence structure and punctuation when they’re about eight years old or second or third grade. If you have a child who is struggling to read and making the transition into reading for information make sure to get them help sooner rather than later. Remember – reading is a life skill!