Instilling the joy of reading in your child is the best gift you can offer. I have always loved to read and even as a child, when I should have turned out the lights to go to sleep, I’d be reading under the duvet with a torch light!
Now, it’s a little difficult with two young children, however, I have always wanted them to enjoy and love books and reading as much as I have. So I thought I would share a few tips with you that I have picked up along the way…
- Kids love to imitate mummy and daddy, so let them see you read! Simple as it may sound, if they see you enjoy reading, they are most likely to enjoy it too. This could be anything, from magazines to recipe books.
- Start from birth or even before! Babies love the sound of mummy’s and daddy’s voice. Sing nursery rhymes and make sure you have books as part of their toy collection. Cloth books and board books are great for this age.
- From around six months you may want to look at pictures together while turning the pages. Your little one may even want to turn the pages themselves. This made me smile when my little one did it for the first time; she couldn’t wait to see what came next! Touchy-feely books are just superb for this age.
- Between the ages of 12 and 18 months your baby will be ready for you to start reading simple stories to them. Choose books they can relate to, with topics such as bedtimes, meal times, outings, family members and animals, but keep it simple. Make sure there are plenty of pictures. It was at this stage that my kids wanted me to read the same books again and again and again…! This is because they have become used to books and love repetition which encourages language development. Soon, if you miss a word, they will fill in the gaps!
- When your child is around the age of two, you will probably notice them reading to their dolls and other toys and possibly to your pet cat! You may want to pull out your hair and scream out, “Not again!!!”, when they ask you, again, to read the same stories that you’ve already read countless times. Be patient as children find comfort in things that are familiar to them.
- Remember, reading has to be fun! Make sure there are plenty of stories with your child on your lap, liven things up and include hugs, cuddles and tickles and share the experience. My kids love it when we all read a story together.
- From the age of three, you can really start to have some fun… reading can become a whole other world full of imagination and a great place for learning. Ask questions, let your child fill in the gaps and talk about the pictures in the books. If you show your child that reading is enjoyable and that the words they read carry information and can be fun, then this will give them the motivation to want to read.
You have now given your child the best start to reading. The world of books is a wonderful place that they will want to explore.
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