Treat words and books as members of the family Read-Aloud Tips

July 08, 1998

Frank B. Edwards, author and creator of Mortimer Mooner, believes the key to a child's future is not in lessons, teams or tutors, but in the books on her bedside table. Edwards wrote "10 Steps to a Kid-Literate Family," for Canadian Family magazine. They are adapted here.

1. Start reading aloud to your child early. Just because they cannot talk yet doesn't mean they won't like a good story.

2. Make reading a part of the regular family routine.

3. Show that reading is a useful skill. Toy assembly instructions, cake recipes and shopping lists provide practical reading experiences with obvious rewards. Pity the child who thinks of reading as a dreary academic exercise.

4. It takes a reader to shape a reader. When they see you reading, they will join you.

5. Read for the fun of it. If you aren't enjoying a story, they probably aren't either. Go easy on the preachy morality tales TTC (dump the phonetic workbooks altogether) and find stories that will take them beyond their ordinary lives.

6. Ration TV as you ration junk food.

7. Fill your home with books and magazines for the whole family. Make reading material part of the daily household clutter, from living room to bathroom.

8. Talk, talk, talk. Talk about what you are reading, doing and thinking - and listen to what your children tell you in return.

9. Play with words. Sing them, rhyme them, riddle them, turn them inside out and upside down. Words need not be taken seriously all the time.

10. Explore the world together. Literacy isn't just about words and reading. Fertile minds need to be exposed to nature - and music and theater and movies.

Pub Date: 7/08/98

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