Reading aloud provides special bonding time for parents and infants. Babies enjoy hearing the sound of a familiar voice while the words, pictures and stories stimulate their brains.
- Start slowly. Infants have short attention spans so keep your reading time brief. Repeat stories and rhymes often so your baby learns new words and sounds each time.
- Explore books together. Babies like brightly colored books with photos of other children and familiar objects, such as toys and baby bottles. Also, choose books with pop-up characters and images that are soft to the touch so your baby can feel different textures.
Reading improves toddlers’ listening and speaking skills, and helps them begin to understand words and phrases.
- Read and repeat. Toddlers enjoy hearing the same story repeated many times; this helps them make connections between words and pictures. While reading, ask your child to turn the pages and name the objects they see. They can even try to guess what will happen next in the story!
- Choose the right books. Toddlers like books that show characters doing familiar things like playing and smiling. Pick books with only a few words per page and stories that rhyme for extra fun.
As children prepare to enter school for the first time, daily reading habits can give them an extra boost. That’s because reading builds confidence as well as vocabulary skills, which are both important for school success.
- Visit the library often. Make visits to the library a regular part of your activities with your children, and let them choose several books on their favorite topics. Also, ask about free resources you can participate in together, like preschool storytimes, and don’t forget to sign up for library cards – they’re free!
- Always have a book nearby. Make sure to always have books available for your children, even while running errands or traveling in the car. Read while waiting at the doctor’s office or at the bus stop – anytime is a good time for reading!