By now, most parents know that early exposure to reading, especially from birth until age 3, is key to helping children develop language skills and foster a love of reading and writing. According to zerotothree.org, “We now know that children gain significant knowledge of language, reading, and writing long before they enter school. Children learn to talk, read, and write through such social literacy experiences as adults or older children interacting with them using books and other literacy materials, including magazines, markers, and paper.” This means if you want your kids to be life-long readers and develop great language skills, it’s never too early to start getting them hooked on books. Here is some information that can help you develop your child’s love of reading.
What books are age-appropriate?
- Ages 0 to 6 months – At this age, babies enjoy books with simple pictures or designs with bright colors. They enjoy books made of cardboard, cloth or vinyl.
- Ages 6 to 12 months – Babies at this age want to see books with photos of other babies or familiar objects like bottles and toys. They enjoy books with sturdy pages like cardboard books, vinyl books (for the bathtub) and washable cloth books (that they can teethe on).
- Ages 12 to 24 months – Young toddlers enjoy sturdy books they can carry with them. They like books that have pictures of kids doing familiar activities, like playing or sleeping. They may enjoy special goodnight books for bedtime or books about saying hello or good-bye. Books with a few words on each page that contain predictable text or simple rhymes are best.
- Ages 2 to 3 years – Older toddlers can follow simple storylines and enjoy rhyming books (the rhymes help them memorize). Books that teach simple skills like the alphabet, counting, shapes, sizes, animals or vehicles are always popular in this age group.
How can you share books with your baby or toddler?
- Make reading part of your daily routine. Whether it’s a bedtime story or story hour at the public library, incorporate daily reading into your child’s activities.
- Enjoy reading. Show your children how much fun reading is. Use your imagination. Read in different voices for each character. When something is fun, kids are going to want to do more of it.
- Don’t stress finishing the book. Kids have short attention spans, and it’s okay to not finish the book. Just starting the story and getting a few minutes of reading in is still just as beneficial to your child.
- Get creative. You can sing or talk about the pictures in the book. You don’t necessarily have to read the words in the story each time.
- Let your child turn the pages. If you have a sturdy book (for babies), help them turn the pages as you read. If you have an older child, he or she may be capable of turning pages alone. It’s okay if you skip a few here and there.
- Highlight the cover page. Make sure to read the cover page and talk about the title and what might happen in the story.
- Scan words with your finger. Show children the reading motion of left to right by scanning the words with your finger as you go along.
- Help the kids apply the story to their lives. When you’re talking about a story, draw comparisons to things in your child’s life. This helps children remember.
- Ask and answer questions. Use the story as a conversation starter (if your child is old enough to talk). Ask simple questions about the story, and allow your child to do the same.
- Let your child do the “reading.” Even if your child can’t yet read, let him or her look at the pictures and tell a new version of the story.
At Sparkles! we encourage an early love of books. We read to your children in interactive and fun ways that foster a love of literature, as well as prepare children for Kindergarten. Find out more about what your child does at Sparkles! by talking to your child’s teacher. If your child does not currently attend Sparkles! we would be happy to discuss our method and curriculum with you. Contact us today.