It’s never too early to start reading with your child. Because our brains begin to develop the building blocks of language during infancy, even newborn babies benefit from being read to by a parent or caregiver. Not only does reading aloud to your child help build their listening skills, vocabularies and attention spans, it is also a great opportunity to bond and create positive memories together.
Here are 10 tips to make reading together fun and enjoyable:
- Get cozy! Set the stage for success by choosing a comfortable and inviting space for both of you to settle into with a story.
- Anyone can “read” a picture book. You don’t have to read every word on the page. Use the pictures to augment the story, or make up new details!
- Be animated and enthusiastic! Use different voices for each character and act out words and actions. (Yes, you might feel a little silly at first, but your child will love it!)
- Let your child choose the book. (Even if they pick out the same book you’ve read a thousand times and know by heart!) Research shows that the books that kids enjoy most are the ones they choose themselves.
- Ask questions and make comments. Connect the story to events and emotions your child has experienced. For example, “Bear is at the lake. Remember the day we went to the lake?” or, “Uh oh. Does she look sad to you?”
- Be patient and flexible. Is your child distracted, or simply not in the mood to read together? Don’t force it. Reading together should be pleasurable, not compulsory.
- Find books that match your child’s interests. Animals? Ninjas? Race cars? Computers? There’s a book out there for everyone. Your local librarian is a great resource to help find books that align with your child’s fascinations.
- Speaking of your local librarian: Sign your child up for a library card! Getting your child used to patronizing your local library helps establish the groundwork for a lifelong relationship with an institution where everyone is welcome.
- Be consistent. Set a regular time to read together, such as bedtime. Create a habit of ending the day with a book.
- Be a role model. Children look to the adults in their lives for guidance. Let them see you reading books, newspapers and magazines (not just on your phone!) to help demonstrate the importance and enjoyment of reading.