Every afternoon for room time (independent, awake time while the other littles nap) I keep Macie Jane supplied with LOTS of library books (along with all the toys her heart desires in the playroom.) When she first began having room time she would protest that she couldn't read the books and needed me to read them to her. Of course I spend plenty of time each day reading to the children but if I read to her during her independent time that would defeat my purpose. My encouragement to her and to you today is that non-readers can read! Reading isn't just reading words. Reading can be reading the pictures too! A non-reader can look through the pictures in a picture book and gather the basic idea of a story. He or she can read! Before we even begin connecting sounds to letter or discovering CVC word patterns your little one can read a book and tell you all about it!
This is great for a number of reasons two of them being confidence and interest. One, it builds confidence. Most littles like to feel big. Reading is a "big kid" thing so for them to understand that they can read too is a wonderful thing! Second, it creates interest. Very often when littles understand that he/she can read by reading the pictures a curiosity is piqued and desire to read more and more is fueled by excitement about their new found skill. Down the road reading the pictures will also lend itself to supporting comprehension skills as well.
In addition to the piles of pictures books we've checked out I got a set of BOB books too. BOB books are great tools to help introduce your little one to reading. This Summer Macie Jane, Sadie, and I have been reading through the "pre-reading skills" set. It's a collection of 12 short, paper books about Sally Circle and her friends. They're cute and a quick read but are open ended to give you opportunity to expand on them as well. The pre-reading set has an emphasis on shapes (in illustrations, in the story line, etc.) "Learning to identify shapes trains your child's eye to later identify letters and words. The best friends in [the stories] are a circle, square, and triangle." The author Lynn Maslen Kertell includes helpful hints on the inside cover page of each book. The hints include suggestions about matching, sorting, classifying, sequencing, etc.
Our local library carries a number of sets and this Summer we've been borrowing theirs. However, I'm considering purchasing our own BOB book sets just because I know I have 3 little people who would benefit from them. AND they're so inexpensive! For around $10 you can get the pre-reading collection of 12 books (small, paper.) For the same price you can get each of the other sets (alphabet, beginning readers, sight words) too as your child develops.
Whether or not your family decides to check out the BOB books I hope I've encouraged your heart to encourage your little to read! Pick up a picture book today and let your little read to you. Ask him what he sees on each page and watch how well he can piece the story together. Don't get hung up on details if she sees the pictures and veers from the actual storyline. It's completely ok if the story she reads looks different from the written text. Gathering the basic idea of the story is more than sufficient for reading the pictures. When he's done praise him! Make a big deal of it! Say, "look at you! You did it! You read a book!" I'm telling you there's not a little one out there who can't help but smile when he/she discovers they can read! ...and I'm willing to bet mama is smiling too! :)