Skip to content
Mother & Baby
It’s never too early to introduce your child to the joys of a good book. Here’s how to make reading special for both of you
Curling up with a good book is one of life’s great pleasures, for both grown-ups and tots. And although your little one is unlikely to be able to read more than a few basic words until she’s five or six, the earlier you introduce her to reading, the better it is for her development. According to Wendy Cooling, founder of Bookstart, cultivating your toddler’s love of reading will boost her skills across the board. ‘Many children these days have poor language skills, but reading together will help improve her communication and conversational abilities,’ she says. ‘She’ll start school with a positive attitude towards books, ready to learn.’Reading won’t just give your tot the gift of the gab. ‘Children who are brought up to enjoy books also do much better in numeracy tests,’ says Wendy. ‘And as your child gets older and is able to cope with longer stories, she’ll improve her ability to listen and concentrate – vital skills for any pre-schooler.’But most importantly, reading is fun – for both of you. ‘Sharing a book is a special time between you and your child,’ Wendy adds. ‘It’s very good for bonding, and it gives you the chance to take five minutes out of a hectic day to sit quietly together.’ An opportunity to put our feet up? Count us in!
Choosing a bookThe book you choose will make all the difference to your child’s enjoyment of it – it goes without saying that your fairy princess is likely to be less than impressed with a book about diggers! Toddlers love books that they can hold easily, so choose board books, pop-ups and bath books. Look for bright colours and bold pictures to keep her enthralled.If your little one is under two, she’s more likely to enjoy repetitive and rhyming books. Or look out for picture books with no text: ‘I love wordless books, because they encourage you and your child to make up your own story,’ says Wendy. Older tots will begin to understand books with more text and simple story lines, but don’t force her to sit still and listen to an epic. ‘At first, she’ll probably only want to read for five minutes at a time,’ explains Wendy.Are you sitting comfortably?Reading to your toddler is the perfect excuse to unleash your inner impressionist/clown/comedian. Yes, you’ll sound silly, but entertaining her with funny voices and animal noises will get her giggling and hold her attention. Use a slow, sing-song voice to bring the story to life, and try out different voices for different characters, encouraging her to join in.While you’re reading, hold the book so your toddler can see the pictures. Point to things that seem to capture her attention, and spend time talking about the pictures before turning the page.Try asking your child to point out a particular object on the page or make the appropriate animal noise, and give her lots of praise if she gets it right.But what if you have the sort of tearaway tot that won’t sit still to eat her dinner, let alone listen to a story? Wendy suggests choosing books that appeal to her active, adventurous nature. ‘Look for books that give her something to do, so she can join in rather than just sitting and listening,’ she says. ‘There are lots of books with actions, like stretching tall and clapping hands. If she gets involved, she’ll end up listening to the story and enjoying it without even realising.’
Get into good habitsThe more you read to your child, the more she’ll benefit, so try to make reading part of your routine. ‘All mums are busy, but try not to see reading as a chore,’ Wendy advises.‘Think of it as a chance to sit down and relax, even if only for five minutes.’ Needless to say, daddies are good at reading stories, too.Many parents like to include a story as part of their tot’s bedtime routine, and it can be a lovely way to wind down. But if your little one is too tired at bedtime, or gets overexcited, try to introduce a regular story at another time – after lunch, before her bath, even when she’s sitting on the potty.But don’t feel that reading can only take place at set times. Use a story to help your tot calm down if she’s haring around like a mad thing, or to distract her from an impending tantrum, or as a reward for eating all her breakfast. And let her call the shots, too – try to make yourself available to read whenever she asks.
Be library loversLetting your tot choose her own books is an important part of developing her love of reading, so why not join your local library? It’s free, and will give her access to a far wider range of books than you’ve got at home. Plus, many libraries run free story time and rhyme time sessions for pre-schoolers. ‘As well as being good fun, and giving you the opportunity to meet other mums, they can give you some good ideas about how to read to your child,’ says Wendy. And remember that the library is a great place to keep your tot occupied on a rainy day – silence is, mercifully, not required in the children’s area!
Mums like you‘Even the best-behaved children don’t always sit through a whole story. As soon as Jack starts fidgeting, I let him go. Then the next day, we try and read together for longer.’Sally Owen, mum to Jack, 18 months
‘As a single mum, I sometimes struggle to find time to read, so I sit Cara down with a story tape with an accompanying picture book. She’s happy, and I can carry on with the chores.’Jesse Crooks, mum to Cara, three, and Kieran, four months
Bookstart programmeBookstart is a national scheme to encourage parents to introduce books to their children as early as possible. It aims to provide every baby with a free pack of books, which you’ll usually be given at your little one’s developmental checks, or when you join the library.‘The Bookstart packs are magical,’ says Rosemary Clarke, head of Bookstart. ‘They’re full of books, tips and ideas, to help you make books part of your regular routine.’ For more information on how to claim your free pack, visit bookstart.org.uk.
Send a story, photo or video relating to this
Upload stories, photos or videos direct to the site .
Add your comment
You must be signed in to submit a comment.
Introduce your child to reading
By submitting your comment, you agree to adhere to the askamum
Terms and conditions
You must be logged in to subscribe to a topic
Login or register now
RE: Introduce your child to reading
Now even the blind person can make a sculpture with the vision of heart. It can be said that the children with special needs have sixth sense. They use this sense to overcome their shortcoming. Besides some kind of inability, the children who have diabetes, epilepsy, cerebral palsy are also in need of special needs. visit kid latest hairstyles 2013.
12 January 2013 08:50
If your child starts taking interest in reading books from an early age then it is good for the development of the child. Your child will take interest in learning a lot of things; this will also be helpful when your child starts studying in school. You could also go for Kid books online.
24 October 2011 11:59
It is really sad that this all website is not in english because I do not know this language. Well, I just see that this blog is really respectful and full of various useful publications about all essential events. I will try to read this post with the dictionary's help. Anyway thanks a lot for sharing it. pell grant eligibility
08 October 2011 19:37
My 2 year old daughter loves books, she knows letters and their sounds, and has expressed distinct interest in learning to read her books herself. I've found dozens of methods, both free and commercial online for teaching kids to read, even at this young age, and I also found a great way to sell textbooks you no longer need. I was hoping maybe some folks here had good recommendations fit for my daughter's age.
04 September 2011 12:23
Advertise with us |
Link to us |
Site map |
Mother & Baby magazine subscription |
Magazine subscriptions |
© Copyright 2013 askamum, Bauer Consumer Media - All rights reserved.
Other Sites By Bauer Media | Grazia | Closer Online | Closer Diets | Askamum | heatworld