Read to your child. That’s it. Reading is beneficial to children’s development. Research shows that reading builds a love of reading, increases literacy skills later on, and develops positive relationships with caregivers.
When should I start reading to my child?
Today. It is never too early to read to a child. 3 days or 3 months. Children are constantly absorbing language. That’s why when your child does begin to talk, the words will come out like the flood gates are opening. A trickle at first, then full blown word flood. Children hear anywhere from 13-45 MILLION words in the first four years, depending on how much parents talk and read to them.
As a newborn, have someone read while you feed the baby. Chapter books are great for newborns. When you are making dinner and your baby is sitting happily in a bouncy seat, or wrapped up in a carrier, read your dinner recipe aloud. Anything to hear words.
As baby grows and you develop a bedtime routine, take 5-10 minutes to look at books together. Before or after bath to help wind down is a great time. Maybe after breakfast or lunch place a book on their highchair tray while you clean up the dishes. If your child is at the age (6-12 months) where everything goes in their mouth, provide sturdy board books or cloth books. The idea is, allow children to explore books at their level. If chewing on one book while you read another is where he is, let him go. You don’t want to create a negative experience of books by saying “No” throughout story time.
As baby grows and starts moving, some children have a hard time sitting still for a book. The key is, keep reading. Allow baby to stand up, move around and explore the room, but you keep reading. You are continuing the routine of story time (no matter what time of day). And, he is still absorbing your words, and will ultimately come back for his favorite part of the book, or to look at a picture you point out.
When buying or borrowing books, the key is to find books that are simple. Look for books with one or all of the following:
- few words to a page
- simple, solid color pictures
- repetitive phrases
- touch and feel
- lift the flap
- action words
Here, are some favorite books!