Read to Kids Often to Encourage a Love of Books
Even if you can only read to your child 10 minutes a day, they will reap the benefits from that time and the books you read. As a story is read, a child starts to match up the sounds with the pictures, which helps with their language skills.
Toddlers, who revel in the repetition in books or in repeated readings of books, will use that repetition to recognize words, and, when they start talking, they will start repeating the sounds of the words, as well. Children love rhymes -- whether Mother Goose or Dr. Seuss.
Here are some tips to make reading fun, which will help encourage a life-long reader:
- Buy books, such as board books, that a baby can easily handle. Books also make great gifts for any occasion -- and you might want to buy some of your old favorites to share with your children.
- Make books with your kids. Have them illustrate a book you've made from stapling paper together. They can dictate the story that accompanies the pictures they have drawn.
- Use reading as a starting point for dialogue. Ask questions before, during and after the story. As children grow older, ask questions about what they are reading or share something you have read.
- Try to be active during reading time. No matter what the age, when reading aloud, remember to laugh or create funny character voices. Kids enjoy it and you might find that you do, too. When you point to pictures when reading, your child starts associating the sounds with the pictures.
- Reading is not just for bedtime. Spend some out-of-the-ordinary time sharing a book or two with your child. It's always a good time to pick up a book. You might even try to reward good behavior with the promise of extra reading time.
- Use the library story time as a social time for your child. While you're there, try to meet parents who have kids the same age as yours. As they get older, encourage your kids to join summer reading programs.
- Get your kids their library cards. Encourage reading, whether or not your child seems to enjoy it. Allow them to read again (and again) from the same series of books -- even if it features a character from TV. It may help your child connect with reading, which will set him on a path to enjoy other books.
Related: Choosing a Preschool
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.