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Rearing Readers: Everyday Ideas for Encouraging Literacy 14

Posted by Elisa Taub
Rearing Readers: Everyday Ideas for Encouraging Literacy 14

by Helen Coronato

Rearing Readers is a new column on Each month Helen Coronato will be writing about creative ways to encourage children of all ages to read.


Everyone from the US Department of Education to your nosy neighbor to your mother in law has told you, "You must read aloud to your children!" Experts agree that preschoolers (ages 0-5) should be read to for thirty minutes a day. But where can you find an extra 30 minutes in a day already jam-packed with soccer practice, music lessons, and grocery shopping?

Instead of looking for a block of time in your crowded schedule, begin looking for minutes throughout your day to read. A few minutes here, a few minutes there, and before you know it, you and your preschooler will have hit the thirty minute mark! Use these simple suggestions to recognize reading-ready moments, and begin to "Read to Tot, On the Spot!"

Check Out Reading
On line at the grocery store? Grab a cooking magazine and enjoy a picture hunt. Take time to talk about the title and cover's illustrations, then open up to a pictured recipe and read the ingredients. Have fun comparing the article's food list with your cart. While showing your child the pictures, ask, "This recipe uses bananas. Did we buy bananas today?" This simple version of eye spy will keep your little one engaged and reinforce that reading pertains to real life.

Road Trip
Chances are your child has a favorite story that incorporates the three "R's": rhythm rhyme, and repetition. While you may cringe at the thought of re-reading an all too familiar tale - "I could tell this story in my sleep!" - reciting a memorized story is an excellent opportunity for the multi-tasker. While driving along, have your child hold the book and turn the pages (on your cue) as you recite the words. This is a great way for your child to "be in charge" of the book, learn that pages turn from left to right, and recognize that stories are read from the front to back. You can get where you’re going while sneaking in a story.

Little Libraries
While a beautifully stacked book shelf provides a lovely focal point, designing mini book centers throughout your house sets you up for sudden success. By recycling holiday baskets, shoeboxes, or storage containers into little libraries, you can be assured that you'll be covered during unexpected downtime. Waiting for the oven timer to go off? Laundry still not dry? Dishwasher on its last cycle? Reach into your ready-made book nook and slip in a five minute story. Rotate your story collection throughout the house and add some unexpected fun to your routine chores.

These simple suggestions will help you build baby's brain power while making reading a natural part of your day. The next time you've got a few minutes and think, "What now?" reach for that stashed storybook and Read to Tot- On the Spot!

About the Author
As a former middle school English teacher and children’s librarian,Helen Coronato designed and facilitated literary workshops for parents and children. She now enjoys a career as a freelance writer, program facilitator and full time mother. Please visit the author at