Early Literacy is a tool we can give our children that will help shape their futures in a million ways. It doesnt cost a million dollars, it just takes moments of our time to read to them, to let them read to us, to encourage their imaginations, to hone their guessing skills. Early literacy doesn’t just have to be flashcards and phonetic drills. It can, and should, be encorperated into every aspect of life. Reading is something every family can do together…..even if it is the side of the mac and cheese box while cooking dinner. It is a practical skill that once we give our children, can not be taken away. Once a child learns to read they have worlds opened up for them. They can use reading to learn and grow, they can use it to escape and imagine, they can use it to laugh and question. If we instill in our young children a true passion for literacy we are really giving them the world-any part of it they wish to explore.
Children will learn to love reading if the adults they are around model a love of reading. And I know I am as guilty as the next tired single mom, who just doesn’t have time to sit down and read for fun anymore.
And I will admit I sometimes go for the book with just a few more pictures and a few less words, but you know what? It’s still a book, and we can still look for clues in the illustrations and make predictions before we turn the page and we can read it with silly voices- some of my boys favorties things about how I read. We can find a way to enjoy the moments we do have, build it into the routine, strengthen learning in unconventional ways, and really install that passion in our children.
I often worry that I am not doing enough for my children, but the reality is I am doing the best that I know how to do. And that is really all any of us can do as parents. So don’t beat yourself up for the stories you didnt read last night, just take a breath and read a short one tonight.