Reading with Your Child: Why and How
We’re not going to say that there’s no better activity for your child to enjoy than reading – from dancing around with their favourite soft toy to throwing tennis balls behind the sofa, just about every activity your child spends time doing has inherent value that goes far beyond what we as mere observers could ever properly understand.
Playtime will test your child’s motor skills, their balance and coordination. Beating the cupboard doors and banging a wooden spoon gets them understanding surfaces, textures and sounds.
And then there’s reading. From looking at pictures and seeing how those lovely, bright shapes and colours can be reflective of the world they inhabit, to listening to their mother tongue, seeing it written, and starting to recognise all those sounds, patterns and structures. By helping to develop your child’s language skills, you help them to appreciate all the fascinating things around them, and to better express themselves, their thoughts and feelings.
Children who have the ability to accurately and fluently articulate ideas are benefitted an enormous amount, intellectually and emotionally. They will less often lose their temper to the frustrating inability to get a point across; they will be more likely to succeed academically.
But arguably even more importantly, they will have more opportunity to enjoy themselves. And more to the point, they will have more opportunity to enjoy themselves with you! So what are the best ways to get started on that mesmerising journey of book-reading fun? We have four fantastic recommendations:
- Read to you child every day from as early on in their development as possible. Get them used to calmly sitting with you. Get them used to the sounds of your voice. Get them used to being told a story.
- Involve them in the reading process. This can be pointing out the pictures and using them to recap a chapter; it can be getting them to turn the pages of the book.
- Act out the story as you read it. Do this with fun, characterful voices. Bring their toys to life, nodding their heads and bouncing up and down along with the tale.
- Finally, talk about the story together. What do they think will happen next? Why did she eat the apple? Why did they get angry or sad? What would you have done?
Maybe you and your child will want not only to read and share a story together, but also make one up? As your child gets older, encourage them to read as much to you as you read to them. If you’ve spent lots of time together with plenty of varied reading material, they’ll quickly become great at reading out loud to you, and they’ll also become avid independent readers, happy to pass the time by themselves as long as they’ve got something good to read. Perhaps they’ll prefer reading to social media or watching TV.
Want to spend more meaningful time with your child? Then what better way than by picking up a book?