Reading is one of the most important skills we can learn, plus it’s also enjoyable and is a great form of relaxation for all ages. As a parent, you can play a valuable role in your child’s early education by helping them learn how to read.
Getting your children interested in books and reading from an early age will give them a good head start. Not only is it good from an educational point of view, but studies have shown that children who are familiar with books and have basic reading skills before they start school are better at coping with the demands of literacy teaching when they go to school. Plus, reading can help parents and children bond on another level. It brings mum, dad and children together, it’s interactive, fun and highly enjoyable.
Getting Babies And Toddlers Interested In Books
It’s never too early to get children interested in books and babies and toddlers are prime candidates for books. There are some great books in existence aimed at babies and these serve as a good first introduction to the art of reading.
Books for babies are typically packed full of vibrant, colourful pictures and they often have added ‘touch and feel’ elements, such as different textures to feel or noises to listen to.
Books for babies come in all shapes and sizes. They can be soft and squishy, or chunky and hard, but in all cases are usually durable, so they can withstand the demands of a young baby. Books can be integrated into your baby’s life from an early stage. There are mini books designed to be clipped onto the side of the pram, cot or highchair, so they can be explored at any time.
Books for babies focus primarily on visual elements, although do have the odd words included too (e.g. ‘circle’ or ‘square,’ to illustrate what shapes are in a book on shapes).
Books for toddlers gradually introduce more words and they’re often designed to be read aloud by parents, for example by including lots of rhyming text or stories that can be acted out by the reader. Like books for babies, they make use of plenty of colour and often have lots going on in the pictures, so toddlers can be encouraged to study the illustrations.
As well as making sure your children are aware of books and have easy access to them at home, one of the best things you can do is to incorporate reading into your daily schedule. Toddlers and small children love to be read to and you can make the experience fun for everyone by using silly voices and accents and getting into the spirit of the story.
Rather than simply placidly reading the stories to your toddler, make sure that they get to see the pictures and illustrations too. Many of the pictures in books can be just as stimulating for a child’s imagination as the story itself.
If you don’t have spare money in your budget to buy many books, then make the most of your local library, by enrolling your children. You’ll be able to borrow books regularly for them, which helps introduce them to a much wider range of reading material. No doubt they’ll develop favourites too and you’ll be encouraged to read the story over and over again (and perhaps get fed up with it!).
Once your child is familiar with books and with having you reading them to them, they will hopefully be encouraged enough to actively learn to read by themselves. As a parent, you can set a good example by being positive about books, by being seen to be reading lots yourself and by bestowing the long-term benefits of reading to your child.