Kathy Collins and Matt Glover remind us of a critical component of reading instruction for our young learners:
It’s vital that we support young children’s reading in ways that nurture healthy reading identities, that foster an attraction to books and a love of reading, and that teach them how to make meaning in any text they choose, whether or not they can read the words.
—Kathy Collins and Matt Glover, I Am Reading, published by Heinemann
This fostering of a love of reading to connect with others, to gather information, to hear a great story, to laugh, cry or rejoice, etc. starts when a child is born and continues throughout life.
Allison and Watson (1994) in their article, The significance of adult storybook reading styles on the development of young children’s emergent reading, support the idea of reading to infants as young as 0-3 months. They found that the earlier teachers and parents began reading to children, the higher the child’s emergent reading level is at the end of kindergarten. Bredekamp and Copple in the book, Developmentally Appropriate Practice Third Edition, published by NAEYC, share with us that reading aloud to children is a developmentally appropriate practice starting as young as infants.
These practices include:
Infants: Caregivers need to remember the importance of language development through talking, singing, finger plays and reading.
Toddlers: Caregivers should read frequently to the children- both one child individually and to groups of two or three, always in close physical contact.
Preschool: Every day, teachers read aloud to children, in both small and large groups. Teachers promote children’s engagement and comprehension through strategies such as questioning and reading with expression.
Kindergarten: Every day, teachers read aloud to children. Books are accessible in a library area and other places for the students’ enjoyment and use. Books reflect the children in the classroom.
What are some of the ways that we can promote a love of reading in children of all ages? How can classroom libraries and cozy nooks for reading be designed to promote reading as a fun and enjoyable choice during free choice play time?