Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Raising Readers with Sign

As a signing parent and signing teacher I know the importance of early literacy skills in today's society. I want to raise my children to love reading. I want to raise my children to know how to 'research' or 'find' information on the websites, in libraries or in books. How many of you actually know how to find information or books at the library without going to the 'lady at the desk?' I know I even struggle finding what I need sometimes and it is easier to ask someone.

I challenge all of you out there reading this to raise your little readers well in 2012. Teach them to sign, introduce them to books as early as 2 months old. Teach them vocabulary through pretend play. Use the verbal word and sign together to build that vocabulary. Remember they can take whatever you dish out. So sign as much as you can, talk as much as you can and read to them, read to them, read to them.

Make a weekly library visit and each time, teach yourself how to use the computers and find out how they organize the books and DVD's etc. The more you learn, each time, the more of a library expert you will be.
Then, when your babies are old enough to ask you, where is a book on this or that. You have the answers.

Here are some tips on the BENEFITS of READING to your child.

1. Strong bonding relationship. Just like signing with your baby, reading together can help build a strong relationship with your child. Have a special spot in the house where can cuddle up with a good book or two. Remember, babies and children have short attention span, choose appropriate short books with rhymes, pictures and colour. It is NOT important that you finish each book, just explore and talk together is great too!
2. Increase academic aptitude. Reading is the fundamental tool that will help them learn every aspect in school, such as math, socials, sciences... after all if you can't read and write, how can you learn the other subjects? Teach your children reading is part of your everyday. When you read a magazine or newspaper, give them books too and say 'it's morning reading time.' Give them a bottle of milk, while you have your coffee... snuggle up with your blankie and give them theirs. Too cute!
3. Speech. Reading and Signing go hand in hand when it comes to teaching speech. The signs you show are symbols of words, just as letters are symbols of sounds. Your toddler will soon be signing words he knows in books and trying to 'babble' out the words "just like mom or dad does." They pretend read before they can actually read. These milestones are steps towards language development.
4. Better Communication. Your babies are gaining valuable communication skills through signing and reading. They follow their favourite characters in books and learn how to express themselves. Talk about feelings, emotions and how to positively show and express these. Especially for toddlers, if they have the signs to 'talk about feelings' they are less likely to have 'meltdowns.' There are many good books to read about emotions and feelings. Ask your local librarian.

One of my favourite feeling books is "The Way I Feel" by Janan Cain

A great link to Healthy Children Early Literacy... reading for babies 3 months to 24 months...


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