We parents often don't give ourselves enough credit. We are teaching our kids all the time. Even when we don't realize it. For example, the other day I overheard my two year old tell my four year old that he was pissing her off. I'll have to tell my husband to watch his language. Ahem. Anyway...
In consideration of the bajillion things we parents do, and the bajillion more on our to-do lists, let's focus on all the great things we're already doing. Here are six ways you are teaching your child to be a great reader, maybe without even realizing it:
3 ways you're improving reading skills while reading:
1. Self-Corrections - Even those of us who have been reading for more years than we care to admit make mistakes while reading. We pause when it stops making sense, backtrack, and reread that sentence or section, usually without taking much notice. When this happens while we're reading aloud to our children, they learn that reading is more than reciting words. It's about making meaning. They also learn that even adults make mistakes while reading, but they monitor those mistakes and go back and correct them (if meaning loss has occurred).
2. Prosody - When they hear us read with expression and enthusiasm, our children learn that there is a story inside those books worth finding out. We also model what fluent readers sound like.
3. Modeling - Of course it's great if your kids see you reading a book, magazine, or novel. But even if you don't have time (or don't want to) they see you reading a menu at a restaurant or the directions to put together a toy. It teaches them the essentialness (is that a word?) of reading and all the different purposes for it.
3 ways you're improving reading skills when you're not even reading:
4. Background Knowledge - Any trip to the zoo, grocery store, or even backyard is teaching your child about the world around them and expanding their vocabulary, both essential for successful reading.
5. Connections - Good readers make text to self connections, text to text connections, and text to world connections. Anytime you make a comment like, "Hey, there's a truck like the one in your favorite book!" or "Let's get this book about bears because you really liked the last one we got about bears," you are teaching your child how to make those connections.
6. Drawing Conclusions - Ever played a guessing game with your children? You thought of an object and they either had to ask questions or you gave clues to help them figure out what you were thinking of? What you were actually doing was working on their inferencing skills.
So for these reasons (and so many, many more) give yourself a big pat on the back, you're doing a great job of raising a life long reader!