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Jean’s top 3 literacy tips for new parents

Jean Fahey

Every parent of a middle school child looks back and reflects  “Where did the time go? They grow so fast!!”   So make the most of the early years and:

  1. Read or tell a story every single solitary day- even if you only have 5 minutes.
  2. Visit the library, and take out at least 10 books a week … and talk about them.
  3. In the year before kindergarten, ramp up the audio books and listen together – this will deepen your child’s comprehension and listening skills- skills the kindergarten teacher will thank you for!

Make Time for Reading was inspired by parents-to-be and parents of babies and young children. I learned that while parents appreciate information and guidelines, what moves them to action are powerful stories.

My book’s underlying message is that quality face to face time with our children is the key to the kingdom.  That’s because even the tiniest of babies are studying our eyes and lips to better understand their language.  Eye contact while touching, talking and reading will help them distinguish word-sounds that later will help them learn to read. But even more importantly, face to face time is the access to bonding with our children in the most marvelous and memorable way.

The young brain is marvelously malleable, and love, nurturing, reading, playing and conversations can make a enormous and long lasting difference in our child’s growth and development.

When it comes to literacy, I think the biggest challenge facing parents of young children is simply making the time for talking and reading  … and putting down our smart phones to really be with our children – especially during the early years of critical language and social emotional growth.

(originally published at