Words To Live By

Reading does the mind (and body) good.

Sara Askew Jones
Words To Live By

Open a book, and a marvelous adventure begins. Reading enriches our lives by providing entertainment and knowledge for us and our families. There is a bonus too: It influences good health and wellness for all ages.

Chapter One
Begin the reading journey when your child is an infant by reading aloud and often. Though they might not understand the words, babies respond to the sounds of your voice and the colors on the page. Also, make it a tactile experience by encouraging them to hold or touch the book.

“Hearing, seeing, and touching--all this fits together and is stimulating,” says Pat Hodge, director of curriculum and instruction for the Trussville, Alabama, City Schools. “It will help them as they grow up to associate reading with good fun.”

Learning Curve
Continue reading to your children as they grow older. Toddlers benefit in a number of ways. First and foremost, it helps with their language development. “The more they hear through reading aloud, the stronger their vocabulary becomes,” says Pat.

Most preschoolers want to hear the same story over and over. This repetition builds many skills, such as sequencing and recall.

“Young children become familiar with the words on the page and listening to the sounds,” Pat says. “Doing this at the same time teaches children to try to read as best they can.”

Make reading a priority for yourself. Children model the behavior of their parents. It show your kids that you enjoy and value reading.

“Encouraging reading is the single thing that parents can do that will be of greatest importance in their child’s learning,” says Pat.