Guest Blogger: Melanie Nichols
This March, we are sharing a special series of blog posts from Melanie Nichols. This series was originally posted in February 2021. You can find Melanie and her blog here. If you would like to submit to our blog, please email us.
Learning the alphabet (letter recognition) is a skill that happens naturally for most kids between the ages of 2 and 6. While learning the alphabet is often seen as an indicator of later success in other reading skills, research does not support that. What research does support is the importance of sharing reading experiences with our kids and helping them to develop a positive association with books and stories. From looking at board books with babies to acting out stories either read or made up with preschoolers to listening to books on Audible on a road trip with teenagers, there are countless ways to weave reading experiences into our children’s lives.
An article on Parents.com (link below) lists 18 ways to share reading experiences with kids of all ages, including reading aloud, modeling reading for pleasure, and even cooking. The article also mentions the importance of keeping reading fun at home and in early childhood settings. Teachers in elementary settings and beyond need to instruct on the mechanics of reading and comprehension skills, but even in these classrooms, it is important to maintain the joy that reading and story-telling can bring. “Books should make you laugh and smile, transport you to faraway lands, and transform you into dragon-slaying sleuths, making you feel all the feels along the way” (same article).
Not all of us would list scuba diving, cooking, or watching baseball as our favorite hobby, and it’s ok if we – or our kids – don’t rank reading in our top three leisure time activities. However, as loving parents and teachers, when we intentionally share enjoyable reading experiences of all kinds with our kids, we can help lay a strong foundation for them as they grow and develop in confidence and skill.