Children who read well have a leg up in school and life. But raising a confident, joyful reader isn’t as easy as slogging through a bedtime story each night before tuck-in. Per the University of Michigan, research highlights five fundamental components of early literacy: phonemic awareness (or the ability to hear and identify different sounds, or phonemes, within words), phonics, vocabulary, reading comprehension, and fluency; when any one of these areas isn’t up to par, children struggle with literacy. The National Center for Education Statistics reports that 65 percent of fourth graders read at or below the basic level; these children will fall behind as academic difficulty ramps up. Read on for simple steps to take at every age to foster a love of reading.
Malia Jacobson is an award-winning health and parenting journalist and mom of three. Her latest book is titled "Sleep Tight, Every Night: Helping Toddlers and Preschoolers Sleep Well Without Tears, Tricks, or Tirades."