Reading to your child underpins the development of their language and reading skills, and builds the foundations for their later academic achievement. It stimulates their imagination, builds their communication skills and expands their understanding of the world.
It’s also fun!
From a surprisingly early age your infant is able to look at pictures, listen to your voice and point to objects on pages. Children aren’t born with the knowledge that text is read from left to right, or that words on a page are separate from images; those are essential pre-reading skills that come from time spent with someone reading to them. Reading out loud to your child helps them develop language and listening skills, too. In fact, children learn to love the sound of language before they even notice words on a page.
Life as a parent is typically hectic, but making time to read to your child at least once a day, at a planned time, is important. It sends the message that reading is worthwhile. Best of all, snuggling up to a book lets the two of you slow down, relax and enjoy precious leisure moments.
Young children may initially squirm and become distracted during story time, but eventually they’ll learn to stay still for the duration of the book. As they become more involved they’ll develop longer attention spans, stronger self-discipline and better memory retention – all of which will serve them well at school.
It’s not unusual for a child to favour one particular story, which can be boring for parents to read over and over again. Be patient. It’s how they learn. In time they will be ready to move on to more stories. Keep exposing them to a variety of books. It will stretch their understanding and motivate them to learn more.
Surround your child with books, keep books where your child can easily reach them and let them see you reading. Teach your child to treasure books and treat them with respect. They’ll grow into adults who read easily and frequently, whether for business, knowledge or pleasure. And, it’s all because you read to them when they were just little.