|Excited About Books
When should I start reading to my baby?
It's never too early! You may wonder whether you should refrain from reading to your baby until he is old enough to understand all the words. In fact, reading aloud is an important way for a parent to help a baby learn vocabulary and to stimulate a baby's brain cells to grow stronger and develop more fully. Studies show kids whose parents frequently read to them know more words by age two than children who have not been read to regularly.
Benefits of Reading Aloud from Day 1:
- Builds a baby's language awareness, listening, and memory skills.
- Introduces concepts such as stories, letters, colours, and shapes in a fun way.
- Promotes bonding and closeness - especially because babies are soothed by the sound and rhythm of their parent's voice.
- Gives babies information about the world around them.
- Instills a lifelong love of books and learning.
Tips for Reading Aloud:
- Read just a few pages at a time. Babies have short attention spans so it's okay to put the book aside when your child loses interest.
- Choose brightly coloured board books that have pictures of familiar objects, like toys or animals.
- Pick board books that have pop-up characters, different textures to feel, flaps to lift, and holes where kids can poke their fingers through.
- Cuddling while you read helps your baby feel safe, warm, and connected to you.
- Read the same stories over and over again so your child can start making connections between words and pictures.
- Encourage your child to turn the book's pages. Ask your child to name what's in the picture or what will happen next.
- Change your voice to match different characters or the action that's taking place in the story.
- Let your child choose the book that she wants you to read.
- Have your child follow along by moving your finger under the words as you read.
- Encourage your child to sound out simple words and phrases with you.
- Ask your kids which character they like best or what they think is going to happen next in the story.
- Make up a different ending to the story.
- Extend reading time by doing a related activity together, like drawing a picture that describes the story.
Try to set aside time to read every day − perhaps before naptime and bedtime. Also look for opportunities to read on-the-go to make reading part of your child's everyday routine. Children will better understand their surroundings if you read the world around them.
Ways to Make Reading Part of Your Kid's Daily Life:
- Read your shopping list with your child and ask him to help you find the items.
- Read the food labels on everything from soup cans to cereal boxes.
- Read road signs and billboards when you're out driving.
- Bring books with you wherever you go. Keep a few books in your diaper bag to fill time waiting at the doctor's office or a bus stop.
- Arrange day trips related to a book you just read. For example, if your child enjoyed a story about fire trucks, take a trip to your local fire station.
- Visit your local library often and encourage your child to get a free library card. Many libraries offer activities for kids, including free story times.