Reading habits are important for children to develop from a young age.
Introduce books and reading as part of your child’s bedtime routine.
If the space allows develop a reading area in your child’s room with lovely low open shelving so the child can see the cover of the book first and choose the book he/she would like to read. Children often want to read the same book over and over again so a shelf where the front of the book is exposed makes for easy choosing. Bean bags and scatter cushions allow for comfort while reading.
Very young children (under 2) learn their love of books by using interactive books with flaps and windows or textures to feel before going on to other books. These interactive books help to keep the younger child interested in the story.
Bedtime is a good time to cuddle with your child and read a book together in a secure and safe environment. This also creates a space for calmness and peacefulness before they fall asleep.
Choose well-illustrated books which will appeal to the child.
A children’s picture book can be used as spring-board for learning about different topics.
A young child can be introduced to colours, numbers and shapes while you are reading the book to them.
You can ask the child to predict what will happen next in the story and relate stories to real life situations.
You can teach the child how to hold the book, turn the pages carefully and return the book to the shelf so they learn to look after their books.
They might also be ready to learn that there are many different kinds of books. Some are factual and others are stories.
It is not that important to finish reading a book but what is more important are the conversations that arise around the story.
When reading a story change your voice tone when speaking for different characters and make the various sounds that are made in the story. In this way the child learns the basics of language and sounds.
If a child grows bored and wants to walk off it might be because of a shorter attention span but curiosity will often lead to the child returning to you and focusing on the story once again. Above all reading to children should be a fun and enjoyable experience which leads to a future love of reading as the child grows up.
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