You Are Your Child’s Best Teacher {Guest Blogger}

If you want to learn how to help your child become more aware of and comfortable with books and language then sit back and get ready – this three part series was designed just for you!

It’s easy to believe that all caring parents want their children to read, and to read well. From your own personal experience, you know just how essential reading is to function in today’s society. But that’s where the easy part ends for many parents. Many adults lack confidence in their ability to teach a child to read with reasons ranging from “I’m not a teacher” to “I don’t have time.” Whether it is self-doubts or time pressures, let me assure you – YOU are the best person to prepare your child to read. There are teaching opportunities around every corner and over the course of this three part blog series I will provide you with some helpful tips to take advantage of these teachable moments for your children.

Babies are born learning! Chances are your baby is comforted by a song and/or book they heard while in the womb indicating they were learning before they were even born! From birth to age 5, a child learns at a speed that is unmatched the rest of life – WOW! They key is to keep books, reading and learning fun and your kids will keep coming back for more!

Did you know inside the cover of your Imagination Library books are tips on reading to your children?

Did you know inside the cover of your Imagination Library books are tips on reading to your children?

Research shows that children who are read to from an early age have a larger vocabulary and better language skills when they start school. They also have a greater interest in books desiring to be read to and learning to read themselves. It may come as no surprise that a child’s interest in reading is an important predictor of later reading achievement.

Herein lies the question – who is in the best position to help your baby learn to read? You are with the support of other caregivers, active in the life of your child, and here is why:

• young children have short attention spans. You can do activities in short increments of time throughout the day.
• you know your children best and you can help them learn in ways and at times easiest for them.
• parents are tremendous role models –if your children see that you value and enjoy reading, they will follow your lead.
• children learn best by doing things – and they love doing things with YOU. So read with them every day.

You can help your child grow up to be a successful reader and learner providing them a life-long advantage by starting now to develop a love for books and reading. The key for parents is to carve out about 20 minutes a day, to read with your child but it is important to note it does not have to be all at once. Remember, the ability to read grows day by day, a few minutes at a time. Here are a few key opportunities often appropriate for picking up a book:

• in the morning before you get out of bed
• in the car
• immediately when you get home from work
• at the ball field
• during bath time
• or at bedtime

Looking for a place to start? Are you signed up for Imagination Library? This phenomenal program mails one new, age appropriate book each month to any Knox County child from birth until age five, at no cost to the family. This is not simply a program for families who cannot afford their own libraries. The purpose of this program is to provide every child access to books to foster an early love and appreciation for learning. To register your child today or learn more about Imagination Library visit http://tinyurl.com/knoxvilleIL. Stay tuned for Part II of this series, which will cover tips for sharing books with babies.

First book child receives from Imagination Library

The first book children receive from the Imagination Library.

I would love to hear from you in the comments below:
• what is your child’s favorite book?
• at what age did you start reading to your child?
• when and where do you read to your child?

Special thanks to Knox County Public Library and Parents as Teachers for their contributions to this post.

knapper (55)SMALLAbout Christie

Christie Knapper and her husband Wade met while in school at Maryville College and after getting married in 2006, chose to call Knoxville home. They have two children, Joel (5) and Camryn (3). Christie has served on the board for Imagination Library since 2010 and recently helped form the Circle of Friends Leadership Council at the Knoxville Zoo. Earning the title of Woman of the Year in 2013 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Christie works hard to support many local charitable organizations including The University of Tennessee Medical Center where her youngest child spent 18 days in the NICU upon premature birth. Perhaps one of her biggest most recent accomplishment is the launch of her own marketing company, Bridge Marketing.

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