Before Beginning Reading (Setting Your Children Up For Success!)


Let’s start at the very beginning…

“Mama, p l e a s e don’t stop. I want to hear more!”

When a child breathes in the beauty, fun, inspiration of a great story, he becomes addicted to the pleasure of reading great books.

Establishing appetites for books, stories and reading creates a hunger in your child’s life for more books. From the moment my children could sit still for a few moments in my lap, I was reading to them. We had a large Richard Scary book that had lots of items labled in German and English. I made a game out of this book when Sarah was a wee toddler, and she learned all the words of both languages.

Where are the things that start with “b”? Name all of the things on this page you can eat. (Or I would say, where is an apple? Can you find something that starts with “Buh” (b sound)?

Asking questions makes for interest in new books. Who was your favorite person in the story. Would you have acted that way?

Read using your most dramatic voices–a squeak for a mouse, a booming voice for a ferocious bear and different voices for children in the story.

Reading is a mysterious process. Although various schools and experts defend their respective theories and methodologies of how to teach a child to read, no one fully understands how a child actually does learn to read. Through our many years of home schooling, we have come to find that raising children who are well equipped readers, and have a true love of reading, has helped them blossom. My children developed different habits about how often they read, what kind of books they preferred, and how early they could concentrate. Yet because we gave them delight to cuddle up on the couch to enjoy a rousing story together every day, it became a part of the oxygen of life they breathed. Now all children, in spite of differing personalities and different academic skills, love reading and love remembering all the great stories we read together.
Before your children even begin reading on their own, there are very simple, practical ways that you can introduce them to the concept. Give these tips a try these week with your little one!

Before Beginning Reading:
-Read aloud favorite illustrated storybooks every day with your child.
-Read alphabet books that contain pictures of a variety of objects for each letter.
-Play with alphabet blocks and magnetic letters to familiarize your child with the alphabet.
-Label important things in your child’s life and read them out loud every day.
-Teach your child the letters of their name, especially the beginning letters.
-Make reading books aloud  a wonderful, pleasurable time for your child.
-Create a library shelf in your child’s room to encourage ownership of books.



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  1. Jill says

    First of all I love that you quoted Charlotte Mason. My first born just began Kindergarten at a school that embodies her philosophy.
    And I am home with my 3 year old and 6 mo old so this post has definitely inspired me. Some days I find I try so hard to organize a structured activity for my active 3 year old and recently my mom advised me to “just read to her.” As I am typing this now she is by my side “reading” a book and waiting for me. So thank you for the confirmation and great ideas and advice!

  2. says

    Great ideas!!! I just dug out your Educating a Wholehearted Child and LOVED the lists you have in the back for history reads for the different time periods! I was sooo happy to find that resource!

  3. Toni says

    Sally these are great tips for the younger child, however my daughter is 10 years old and she do not enjoy reading much. What suggestions do you have for the older child. I just don’t know what else to do. I take her to the book store and let her pick out books she likes. I do read to her which she enjoys. But she will never pick up a book on her own and begin reading and if I tell her to sit and read for 20 minutes she sees it as a sort of punishment.

  4. Gretchen says

    It is such good advice but some of us have those children who hate to be read to. I mean I have two who love to be read to and one who hates anything to do with reading or being read to. It is a fight that I no longer battle but keep reading to short bursts. He is dyslexic and reading has always been a struggle. It took me a long time to understand it as I have always loved reading. But now I do what works best for him.


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