September is Literacy Month. City Year Philadelphia is working to improve literacy in our local schools, but learning to read and write does not stop in the classroom. Below are tips for parents, mentors, and teachers on how to encourage the love of reading at a young age from the National Children’s Literacy Website.
- Children who learn to love books will be children who grow up to be good readers. The very best time for children to learn to love books is while they are young. You can help them by making story times a regular part of their day and by encouraging them in their early attempts to speak, read, and write.
- Speaking, reading, and writing are all linked. And they can all be learned and practiced throughout the course of each day in age-appropriate ways.
- Children who look at books and hear stories read aloud learn that words and ideas can be written down and that marks on paper have meaning.
- Show children that there are things to read everywhere. Make a game of finding things with words on them (like soup cans and cereal boxes). This helps children to see how important it is to be able to read and write.
- Keep a supply of books and other reading materials where children can reach them. Add new books as children's skills and interests change.
- Keep writing materials such as washable nontoxic crayons and markers, paints and brushes, and different kinds of paper where children can reach them - and use them.
- Show children how you read and write every day to have fun and to get things done.
- Create one or more special places for children to read and write that are well lit and comfortable.
- Encourage children to experience and discover new things. The more opportunities children have to see and do, the more competent they will become and the more they will understand the world around them.