Reading is one of the most important skills that a child can learn. This is great news for us as parents who can directly influence our children’s learning. Helping them get a head start on life is every parent’s dream and your child’s reading ability, and therefore writing ability, has a larger impact on their success at school than your own level of education, job or income. By planting the seed of reading with your baby, you can truly set them up for life.
Children who start school with a love of books are more likely to become good readers. With the right choice of first books, reading to your child, and talking about books, you can plant that seed.
The right sort of books begins right in the crib. Soft double sided baby bumper books attach to the side of the cot are a great way for your baby to identify books, and link them with the appearance of the things they love, like a favourite teddy bear, mum and dad, and of course, their safe sleeping place. Books with strong colours and bold pictures are good for babies to practise their eye focus.
Of course reading to your child is beneficial not just for baby but for you as well. A great way to wind down the day, and spend some special time together comes with reading a bedtime story to your little one. First stage books include short versions of classic characters, and nursery rhymes with regular rhythms. Such a beat can be a great soother to help baby settle and sleep. Don’t worry if at first baby is not very interested in the whole rhyme or story, the idea is to get them into a routine for sleep and a love of the book. This should be easy since it is a great excuse to spend time with you and meet some of their favourite characters, on paper and with soft furry coats. At first, short stories and rhymes are good, extending into full story books with lovable characters like Peter Rabbit, The Gruffalo, Elmer, the Very Hungry Caterpillar, and Paddington Bear
Infants should also be able to interact with books, so that you can talk about action books, peek-a-boo flap-up books, texture books, and those which come with soft toys or puppets to help bring story time to life. This will all help your child learn to love the books that he or she can play with, feel and touch and even chew. Be prepared to have sturdy board books on hand which can be cleaned and wiped often.
Also be prepared for constant interruptions as your child wants to interpret the story in their own mind. You can even break the story up into chunks, interspersed with questions about your toddler’s own experience of the occurrences in the story, for real-life appeal.
Whatever the book, be open to letting your child experience it on their terms. That is what will count when it comes to developing their love of reading.