How to read books with your child
Why is book reading important?
Books are so important to a child’s development. They expose children to ideas, words and experiences they would not typically get to see in their everyday lives! Having dedicated book-reading time helps create a special bond between parents and children and provides fun and enjoyment.
Your child can learn a lot of different skills from book reading
- Early communication skills
- Exposure to early vocabulary words
- Early interaction skills through shared activities
- Increase opportunities to encourage bonding and build parent-child relationship
- Enhance listening skills
- Preschool skills
- Increasing the understanding of less familiar words using textual and visual cues
- Improve grammar skills
- Improved development of empathy skills and greater understanding of and ability to regulate own emotions
- Improve cognitive development
- Develop understanding of story structure
- Preliteracy skills
- Introduce children to art through the illustrations
- Prepare children for learning to read
- Exposure to early print awareness (e.g. letters, words and sentences)
- Greater familiarity with letter formations
- Opportunity to build phonological awareness (e.g. rhyming)
Tips for making reading books with your child easier
How do we get the most out of shared book reading with our kids? Our top tips are:
1. Start reading books as soon as your child is born! Your baby is still taking in all of the words you say and it can be a lovely bonding activity to do together. Read slowly and spend time on each page after you read the words. This lets your baby focus on the shape of words and pictures.
2. Make it a part of your routine. Book reading may be a calming activity you do together before bedtime, or first thing in the morning.
3. Have your child choose the book. This will be more motivating for them to stay with the book. Keep books in easy to reach places for your child. You can also borrow books from the local library to increase your range of books. Let your child’s interest guide how long you read for – there will be days when babies and children don’t want to spend a long time reading and that’s okay!
4. Read with expression to make it fun. You can vary your voice (loud/soft, deep/squeaky, fast/slow) to match the story. You can also use your facial expression, gesture, and body language to keep it interesting. Incorporating songs can be engaging too.
5. Point out things like letters, numbers, words and sentences. This can help prepare a child for school because they are being exposed to vocabulary around literacy. It also can help with letter formation because they are more familiar with a range of letters.
6. Highlight and repeat new words. Shared reading is an excellent way for your kid to learn and understand more complex words that you may not speak in everyday conversation. Encourage your child to say the word after you, talk about what it means, and use it in a sentence. Not only does this help your child learn new words, it can also help them improve their grammar skills too.