One of the most important things you can do with your child is read. Read anything and everything. Read them books, read cereal boxes, read signs, read menus, read, read, read.
Why read if they don’t even understand? Why try if they won’t stay seated? Sometimes it almost seems pointless with a toddler or a baby.
I promise you it is far from pointless.
Why you should be reading with your child:
It introduces them to a world of new ideas.
From shapes and colors, to letters and numbers books provide children with a wealth of knowledge in print form.
It helps to teach your child about communication.
When they see a word and hear you say it, it shows them what reading is all about.
Reading builds many skills for your child.
It helps build listening skills as you read aloud to them, and vocabulary skills as they begin understanding these new words. Reading books over again may build memory skills with common words or phrases.
It gives children information about the world around them.
From different places, to unique machines, and exotic animals reading can provide information to your child that they may not learn about otherwise.
Tips for reading with your child:
For young children find books with bright colors, and little words.
Allow them to really take in simple pages at a time.
Find fun books with different textures or feelings.
Maybe there is something soft on one page, and something bumpy on another. Keep your child engaged and connected to the book with the sense of touch.
Find interactive books for young children that need more engagement.
Pop-up books are great for reading with young children, or find books that have pages that open up to something hiding. They are interactive and will hopefully keep the child engaged for a little longer.
Read aloud to your child with expression.
If there is a small character use a high voice. If there is a large character using a low voice. If there is a rhyme, say it in a song. Keep it light and fun.
Point to the words as you read.
When you point to the words as you read you show baby that when you read you are speaking the words that are written on the pages. They will eventually learn to do this too.
It’s okay if they chew.
It’s fine if the younger children chew on books because that it how they learn, but don’t encourage it. Hopefully they will soon learn that books are not edible!
Don’t be afraid to read the same books over again.
Young children love repetition and might love hearing the same book over and over again. It will help them learn phrases, and will help with their reading fluency.
Cuddling or holding your child while you read creates a warm environment for reading.
It’s okay to not finish a book.
It is completely fine if you don’t finish an entire book when you read with your child. In fact, you probably won’t! If they just want to flip through the pages, or they are finished halfway through the book, it is okay. They are still getting small doses of reading at a time and learning how reading works, and that is better than nothing at all.
Ask your child questions while you read. Things like, “What is the girl holding? A ball! You know what a ball is!” Try to connect it to their life. Using pictures can be a huge help.
Read every day.
Try to get into the habit of reading every day. It will show children that reading is important, and that we use our reading skills every day.
Make reading fun any way you can! Sing, dance, clap your hands, make noises, whatever it takes to have a good time while you read with your child.
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