Tips: reading a book for your kids
What better gift can we give our children than a love of reading?
Teaching children to read is one thing; encouraging them to want to read is another. Obviously very young children can’t read themselves, so reading to them each day is such an important first step. Why?
It gets them thinking creatively, sets reading up as an enjoyable activity, gives children an appreciation and respect for books, promotes language and vocabulary development, and allows for lots of great family time. Nothing beats a cuddle on the lounge or on a huge bean bag with your child while you read a book together.
When we read to children we:
· Answer children’s questions.
· Promote language skills
· Promote reading skills
· Develop longer attention spans
· Strengthen family relationships
Even if you don’t have a lot of time, and let’s be honest a lot of us don’t, you can still encourage your child to read by making up stories to go with picture books with no words or attending a regular storytelling time. Most libraries offer this on a regular basis.
It’s never too early to start!
Children’s brains begin to develop from the moment they emerge from the womb. Newborns respond to bright pictures, the rhythm of words and the comfort of a parent speaking to them. As parents, the voice we use when we read to children is different to our normal speaking voice which is something they really respond to.
The foundations that determine how clever, creative and imaginative a child will be are largely laid down by the time a child turns one. It’s incredible but true: at this age, most children have learnt all the sounds that make up the spoken language. By the age of two, children have a vocabulary of around 50 words.
Research has shown that language is acquired most rapidly in the first five years of life. What better way to teach language than to read to your children?
Reading aloud to children will develop their speaking skills and help them to make connections – the look of words, the way they work in sentences, how the word functions. Books can help children to learn to concentrate, to explore their inner feelings, to express themselves and to resolve conflicts.
Recent studies have shown that there is a direct relationship between literacy success and success within the wider world. Even self-esteem has been linked to the ability to read and write. Don’t underestimate the power of books.
Don’t worry if you don’t have any children’s books at home, a young baby will love hearing you read from the newspaper or your favorite novel as long as you make it sound good to them. Play up the animation and use your best acting skills – they’ll love it.
The experts say that children need 1,000 stories read to them before they begin to learn to read for themselves. Sounds like a lot? It’s just three stories a day over a year
· Start reading to your child from the moment he or she is born. It is never too early to encourage your child to develop a love of reading.
· Read to your child every day. Make it an expected and enjoyable part of your child’s daily routine.
· Make reading fun! If you enjoy reading, they will enjoy it too. They will learn to associate reading with pleasure.
· Choose books that your child can relate to; books that encompass their life experience.
· Create a personal connection between your child and a book.
· Create books with your child – about them, about their family, school, life etc. It’s a great way to encourage a love of books.
· Make sure your child sees you reading, whether its books, the paper, the cereal packet. If they see that you enjoy reading, they will want to read too.
· Don’t choose books that are too long or complicated for your child’s age and experience. If they are exhausted and confused by the experience, they won’t want to continue.
· Take your child to a regular story-telling session at your local library. These are often followed by art and craft activities and your child will associate reading with fun and pleasure.
· Praise all your child’s attempts at reading, even when they are young and are only ‘reading’ from memory or are making lots of mistakes. Any effort made should be praised and rewarded.
· Buy them books as gifts or surprise rewards for good behavior.
Tips for Parents
· Read to your child every day.
· Make reading aloud part of your child’s routine. Children love regular routines – they help them to feel secure. Reading to your child is a great way to end his or her day and the perfect way for you to settle them before bedtime.
· Choose books that your child can be involved with – books with repetition, rhyme, predictable stories or books with word patterns in them. Studies have shown that this type of book, shared with a child, will significantly improve the way a child learns words.
· Choose age-appropriate books with subject matter that interests your child.
· Use the hard, thick back books for young babies. They’ll come out ok even when they spend more time in your baby’s mouth than in their hands.
· Don’t try to teach your child when you’re reading with them. Make reading fun. Let your child interrupt, ask questions and tell you the story if they know it.
· Be expressive when you read. If you’re excited about reading and books, then your child will be too.
· Even when your child can read, keep reading to them.
· Put their books on a low shelf or in storage tubs that they can easily reach and access.
· Make books with your child. It helps encourage reading and it’s great family time too. Use pictures of your child, family members, pets, toys, or other things your child may be familiar with on each page. Try gluing on a piece of sandpaper, fabric, or other textured items that your child can feel. Write a word or a couple of words in large, clear letters under the pictures and join it all together with staples or ribbons.
Supportive Reading Techniques
A child that enjoys reading is more likely to pay attention and attention is essential for learning to take place. Here are a few ‘Supportive ‘Reading’ techniques that parents can adopt to encourage reading enjoyment.
· Let your child turn the pages at their own pace. If they want to flick forward ahead of the story then that’s okay.
· Words are not that interesting to very young children who don’t necessarily understand them. You can make the reading experience more interesting by referring to the pictures and making links with your child’s everyday life. Don’t be afraid to divert from the story. Young children love it when connections are made to things in their own life.
· Interaction and embellishment of stories is one of the most supportive things a parent can share with their child when reading. It helps make books fun.
· Rather than correcting pronunciation, support your child’s understanding. Their technique will improve with familiarity to words and sounds.