My parents read to me every night and those memories are some of the best of my childhood. We now read aloud to our kids every night. You can start reading to children right from the moment they are born. Infants love to hear the voices of their parents. Reading aloud is a simple activity that provides more positive results than can possibly be measured.
Read aloud so that your baby can associate books and reading with warm and pleasant feelings. Cuddling while you read helps your baby feel safe, warm, and connected to you. Babies benefit by you reading to them and curiosity, creativity and imagination are all developed while being read to.
Try these ideas with your baby:
- Let the baby sit in your lap and make sure that he or she can see the pictures in the book.
- Play with words, sing, and make up rhymes; include the baby’s name.
- Let your baby turn the pages if he or she is more interested in the book than listening to you read. He or she will still be learning about books and enjoying your company.
- Read one or two pages at a time initially and then gradually increase the number of pages.
- Point to, name, and talk about things in pictures. Describe what’s happening e.g. the spotted puppy is chasing the furry kitten.
- Stay on a page as long as your baby is interested.
- When the baby loses interest in the book, put it away and do something else.
Here are some additional reading tips:
- Babies enjoy board books with simple, bright pictures against solid backgrounds.
- When babies are old enough to hold things, provide brightly-coloured board books featuring only one or two objects per page.
- As babies become interested in what’s inside a book, read books with bright pictures of animals, babies, and familiar objects.
- As babies begin to do activities for themselves, read simple stories about routine events: eating, taking a bath, or going to bed.
- As babies begin to talk, read books that invite them to repeat rhymes, words, and phrases.
- When older babies want to join in, read books with textures, things to touch, flaps to lift, tabs to pull, and holes where they can poke their fingers.
- Babies of any age enjoy homemade books and family photo albums.
- Read with expression, pitching your voice higher or lower where it’s appropriate or using different voices for different characters.
- Don’t worry about following the text exactly. Stop once in a while and ask questions or make comments on the pictures or text.
- Sing nursery rhymes, make funny animal sounds, or bounce your baby on your knee, anything that shows that reading is fun.
- Babies love and learn from repetition, so don’t be afraid of reading the same books over and over. When you do so, repeat the same emphasis each time as you would with a familiar song.
- As your baby gets older, encourage him or her to touch the book or hold sturdier board books. You don’t want to encourage chewing on books, but by putting them in his or her mouth, your baby is learning about them, finding out how books feel and taste and discovering that they’re not edible.
- One of the best ways you can ensure that your little one grows up to be a reader is to have books around your house. When your baby is old enough to crawl over to a basket of toys and pick one out, make sure some books are included in the mix.
- Begin making weekly trips to the library when your child is very young. See that your child gets his own library card as soon as possible. . Many libraries have storytime just for babies, too. Don’t forget to pick up a book for yourself while you’re there. Reading for pleasure is another way you can be your baby’s reading role model.
Your voice makes your baby feel secure and builds confidence, and the bond that you share grows even stronger. Your child will enjoy and treasure these moments. Hopefully your child will also feel that reading is a pleasurable activity which will lead to a lifelong love of books and learning.