When to Start
You can start reading to your child as soon as possible. It is also a great way to talk to your child and get him or her engaged in what you’re doing. Babies also tend to copy what parents do, so this would be a great practice to instil in your child.
Benefits of Reading to Your Child
When you read to a child, thousands of cells in his or her brain respond. It in turn, turns on some brain cells, strengthens existing connections between others, and forms new ones. This eventually:-
- Improves language skills
- Enhances learning ability
- Prepares your child for academic success
- Enhances creativity and imagination
- Increases discipline and concentration
- Nurtures a lasting love of reading
The time you use to read to your child creates a bond between the two of you. Additionally your child gains the following skills:-
- Phonics – the ability to connect between spoken and written language
- Phonemic awareness – the ability to hear, recognise and play with specific sounds in spoken words.
- Vocabulary – knowledge of the words needed to communicate
- Fluency in spoken language
- Reading comprehension
Tips for Reading
Before reading to your baby, make sure that both of you are comfortable. For toddlers, create anticipation and allow them to settle in order to get their attention. Below are a few tips that you can use.
- Choose a book with simple text and sentences for instance a book with one word for every page.
- Cuddle when reading to make it warm, fun, and relaxing
- Use a singsong voice
- Use gestures, sound effects, and body movement
- Point to any relevant and key events (let your baby point too)
- Act silly
- Give your baby books that are durable
- Choose a book with illustrations
- Select books that tell the story repetitively with similar words appearing frequently
- It’s better to let your child help you pick a book
- Make it entertaining by using different voices and tones
- Reiterate the story in your own words if your child seems not to understand
- Take time at each page to give your child time to study it
- Talk about the illustrations
- Ask questions to keep your child involved
- Ask your child what they thought of the story in the end
Please note that development differs from one child to another.
Content intended for educational purposes only, and should not be substituted for medical advice from your doctor.
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Last reviewed March 2019