By Ready. Set. Grow!
There are many ways to learn to read, and our amazing Read Early, Read Aloud “My Favorite Book” contest participants shared with us some very different ways they were taught to read, or taught someone else to read.
From helping an 8-year-old classmate sound out words to reading to unborn children, these people know that reading is a gift to be shared early and often. Many people recalled some of their own touching early memories of learning to read — either with the help of some caring teachers or at home from family members who shared books, words and sounds with them. Some learned from their own parents’ oversights, and others passed on family reading time traditions.
While each early reading story is unique and personal, one thing remains the same: Reading aloud to children helps them be ready for school, bond with others and creates loving memories that last a lifetime. Maybe you’ll find some good tips for reading with your kids, or will want to continue the conversation in the comments below!
We received nearly 125 responses on the Read Early, Read Aloud survey that asked participants to share how they learned to read and/or helped a child to do so. All contest entries also shared their favorite children’s book title as part of the Read Early, Read Aloud “My Favorite Book” contest on the website, on Twitter (#myfavbook) and from events around the county. A grand prize winner of 50 books will be announced on Monday, Dec. 12.
Here is just a small sample of some of the stories*:
“When I was a child I learned to read at school. In the classroom or at the school library. I don’t have a memory of my parents reading books to us. So now that I have my daughter, I make sure we read every night…. She is only 1 and she loves it.”
“I learned in a baby magazine that it was crucial to introduce babies to books at an early age, so when my son started showing interest in toys (4 months approx.), I bought him a few bubble books at the dollar store. Even though he mainly used them as teethers, he demonstrated interest in them. A few days ago, we assisted the preschool graduation of a friend’s child. It was the first time my son was in a room full of other small children, colorful mats, and every size, color and noisy toys everywhere, but in the amidst of all this, my son ran (more like a fast wobble but the intention is what counts!) straight to the small book shelf at the far [end] of the room and grabbed a book: “La Gallina Dorotea.” He never let go of that book, and at the end of the ceremony, he cried and contorted as I tried to put the book back. Luckily, the teacher happily let him take the book home. In that moment I knew that all those chewed on and ripped bubble books had done their job.”
“I learned how to read in kindergarten and my mom read many books with me when I was a young girl. I now have two girls ages 2 and 4-years-old. I have had books out and read to them since my 1st daughter was an infant…. I got a tip somewhere to said to put a basket of books for your kids in each room in the house… They both have loved books since they were very, very young.”
“My experience with reading unfortunately began during my school years. I learned to read by the second grade. I was always encouraged to read by my teachers throughout my academic years. My favorite part of reading was having to do a book report. I began reading to my daughters when they were both in my tummy. I have continued since birth to read to them every day. Now it is part of their routine. I also have my 3-yearold read to my 1-yearold. This experience is super cute!!!!”
“I always remember watching my mom sit and read as a child which I think helped me to learn. I don’t remember not reading so I can’t tell you exactly when I learned to read, but I haven’t stopped and now I do it for a living (at home and work!).”
“As a young child my parents read to us every single night. When I became pregnant with my son, I read aloud anything and everything from magazine articles to children’s books and newspapers. My son is 5 now and I continue to read to him each and every single night. He has a great love for all books and is already reading himself. I couldn’t be more proud.”
“Before we read, we discuss the pictures on the page then I read the words aloud. I change the sound of my voice for each character in the story. I make it come alive for my child. He laughs and asks me to read it again.”
“We read every single night before bedtime.”
“Every night I read to him in English and in Spanish…. I learned to read at school….My parents never read to me….But I understand the importance of reading and he is good at it…Now he always asks for a book at night …”
“I learned to read by the time I was in 3rd or 4th grade, unfortunately, my parents never read books to my brother and I, so we learned later how to read in school. I remember the challenges I encountered learning to read on my own, but I have changed all that with my two boys. During my pregnancy, I would read to them. Once they were born, I continued to read to them projecting a lot of joy for books. I reinforced that reading is fun and help them embrace a love for reading as I buy them books especially from public library sales. We also go to the library frequently, enjoy participating in library events such as the Summer Reading Program, storytimes, and have fun attending book fairs like the L.A. book fair.”
“I have helped my children learn to read by reading to them myself, providing them with age-appropriate books, being with them when they are reading for support and asking them questions about the books they read.”
“At age 4, my dad used to read the newspaper all the time, and I would always ask what he was doing. He decided to teach me a thing or two, he would have me pick a headline story and would begin to read it to me and would teach me letter by letter and would have me pronounce them. This went on for at least two weeks, the day came when I was able to read the newspaper by myself. I thank my dad for my ability to read. I was the only one in pre-school that was able to read, I’m sure that made him proud.”
“I am an avid reader! I love kids, young adult, and adult books. I love anything and everything that tells a good story. This was not always the case. By the time I reached 2nd grade I was a struggling reader. It was my 2nd grade teacher, Mrs. Larson, who took the time to tutor me after class. She went out of her way to make sure I figured out all of those strange letters which formed some sort of word and in turn formed a cohesive story. For her patience and care, I am eternally grateful.”
“I learned to read because my mom spent a great deal of time reading to and with me. She always made sure books were within my reach, and even when I couldn’t read them, I pretended – but that only made me more excited to actually learn. I am doing the same thing with my son as well as working to teach him sight words. He loves reading!”
*Minor edits for punctuation and spelling were made to some entries.