If we want readers, we need to grow the base from the beginning. This beginning starts with very early childhood, and includes infants.
When you read to a child, when you put a book in a child’s hands, you are bringing that child news of the infinitely varied nature of life. You are an awakener. Paula Fox
Aim: To encouraging listening, thinking, observation, participation, imagination, empathy and speaking through reading and storytelling.
I read many blogs and books designed to help writers improve their craft and help market their work. We also need to be proactive about developing readers and, more particularly, developing them from a very young age. This comes through reading to children, sharing and discussing pictures with them, and encouraging them to observe, interact with, and question their environment and all within it. I regularly meet children who live in towns and cities with access to a library or resource centre who are never encouraged to visit it. I also encounter children whose parents do not read to them. In terms of cognitive and emotional development this is really setting a child up for failure.
In areas where books are scant or non-existent, parents should be encouraged to tell stories to their children. These could be imaginative tales or of a biographical or autobiographical nature. When it comes to the latter two examples, this helps keep family history alive while children’s listening and language skills are improved. Once children are able to draw and paint, they can create illustrations of the stories they have heard. Singing songs together is also a great way of enhancing confidence and communication. It is even better if some action is included. If parents and children do have access to books, it is still important to tell stories and sing songs. In other words, the more activities you include, the better.
Part two follows in a day or two.