Join the Maryland State Department of Education’s Division of Early Childhood, the National Education Association (NEA), Reading is Fundamental, schools, libraries, and early care and education providers nationwide to celebrate National Reading Month!
As part of the celebration, educators are encouraged to invite parents and families to their learning environment on Friday, March 1, for NEA’s Read Across America Day. More than 45 million readers young and old are expected to participate in this annual event.
The goal of the one-day event is to encourage everyone to pick up a book and read. In the past, educators have hosted creative Read Across America Day reading events such as book lovers’ balls and overnight read-a-thons with parents.
Literacy skills and a lifelong love of reading begin at birth. As a child’s first teacher, parents and families play an important role in developing children’s early reading skills.
According to the National Commission on Reading, “The most significant factor influencing a child’s early education success is an introduction to books and being read to at home prior to beginning school.”
Reading aloud to children increases their vocabulary, promotes language skills, strengthens cognitive development, and creates a special bond between the reader and child. Parents, families, and early care and education providers can work together to promote essential reading skills in young children.
The NEA recommends the following tips for reading to infants and toddlers:
- Snuggle with children and their favorite blanket or toys as you read.
- Read with expression using different voices for different characters.
- Emphasize rhythms and rhymes in stories. Give your toddler opportunities to repeat rhyming phrases.
- Use pictures to build vocabulary by varying objects and their colors.
- Use pictures to develop speaking vocabulary by talking about what is shown.
- Encourage children to repeat what you say or comment on it.
- Look for books that are about things that interest your toddler. For example, does your child like cars, insects, or animals?
- Make reading a habit for bedtime, after lunch, or after naptime.
- Give children an opportunity to choose their own books.
- Read stories repeatedly. Children enjoy repetition and it helps them become familiar with the way stories are organized.
Here are some resources available to both families and educators to help inspire children to pick up a book and become lifelong readers:
- Read Across America Digital Calendar
- 21 Day Challenge
- Story Time Events
- Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library
- Family Activity Time: Rhyming Words
- Read Aloud 15 minutes
- Build Baby’s Brain