Caption for Ben Reading: Cara Johnson-Bader’s son, Ben, reads in his classroom at New Horizon Academy. (Courtesy photo)

By Cara Johnson-Bader

At New Horizon Academy, we understand the importance of a child’s journey on the road to reading. We know children need 10,000-12,000 words in their vocabulary to be ready for kindergarten, so we thought we would share a few hints and tips for reading at home to inspire and develop a love of reading, and help children reach this vocabulary goal.

Research tells us it is never too early to start reading to children. From the day they are born, infants, toddlers, and preschoolers develop language skills and pre-literacy skills every day that help them become readers. It is an exciting and critical time of learning.

1. Create a quiet, special place in your home for your child to read, write, and draw. Keep books and other reading materials where your child can easily reach them.

2. Read every day.

3. Ask questions.

• Point to pictures and say, “What is this?” Confirm what your child says by repeating it back to them. “Yes, that is a duck!”

• Make sure to ask questions to the youngest listeners, too. Even the youngest children who are not yet verbal are often happy to point when given the opportunity.

4. Make reading an adventure.

• Use silly voices.

• Involve your child. Let your child “chime-in” on repeated phrases, add a sound effect, or:

• Ask them, “Do you remember what happens next?”

• If it is a very familiar story, give the book to your child and let him read to you.

5. Point out the printed words in your home and other places you take your child such as the grocery store. Spend as much time listening to your child as you do talking to him.

6. Take children’s books and writing materials with you whenever you leave home. This gives your child fun activities to entertain and occupy him while traveling and going to the doctor’s office or other appointments.

7. Help your child see that reading is important. Set a good example for your child by reading books, newspapers, and magazines.

8. Read the story again. Repetitive reading offers a plethora of benefits for developing pre-literacy skills (comprehension, fluency, pattern and rhythm, vocabulary and word recognition, and much more).

By implementing these simple tips into your daily routine, you are helping your child on the road to reading.

Cara Johnson-Bader is the Vice President of Marketing and Parent Experiences at New Horizon Academy and mother of two young boys. Learn more about New Horizon Academy at

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