Pathways to Wellness

conversation • connection • commitment

Reading rocks

Helping a child learn and love reading is a gift that will last a lifetime.   

Dr. Fraser Mustard was a leading Canadian advocate for healthy human development who visited the Yukon many times.  He thought that reading aloud to children as early as 6 months of age was the best all-round way of promoting healthy brain development.  Why?   

Holding a young child in your lap and reading stimulates almost all the sense at one time - your child is hearing your voice, seeing the printed word on the page,  feeling the book and your body, sensing the heat from your body, and perhaps even smelling you.  From the perspective of growing brains, it doesn't get much better than this!

  • Reading aloud to children encourages them to read on their own.
  • It helps them become better readers, listeners and thinkers.  
  • Reading builds vocabulary and language skills.
  • It's an opportunity for you and your child to discover and learn together – if it weren't for reading to our kids, how would we know the difference between a brontosaurus and a Tyrannosaurus rex?
  • It's a great way to end the day.  Reading as a bedtime routine can help your child slow down, and get ready for sleep.

Reading aloud can be fun for both you and your child; it's an easy way of spending time together when you are out of new ideas, or just plain tired.  Turn waiting time into reading time.  Be sure to have books on hand to read together when you are waiting for an appointment, or are in-between activities.

The Whitehorse Public Library has a great supply of children's books, and librarians can help you find books that may interest your child.  If your local library doesn't have the book you want, the librarian can request it from another branch. 

You can also enroll your baby in the Dolly Parton Imagination Library.  The program mails a new book to your home every month until your child enters kindergarten at no cost to you!  This program is supported by the Yukon Literacy Coalition, the Rendezvous Rotary Club of Whitehorse, and Yukon Government.  Your child must be enrolled in the program before they are 12 months old.  For more information, go to http://www.yukonliteracy.ca/library.htm.

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