Reading to our children is one of the best things we can do to help them on their road to literacy. Snuggling up with a baby and showing them pictures and talking about them is a great start. Little hands slapping the page as they explore the pictures they begin to recognise and make sense of is a joyful experience.
When they can move around and understand that a book gets them on a knee, they will present you with a chosen favourite and enjoy looking at it with you. The toddler will show you where the dog, cat, butterfly is as they look at the pages of a much loved book. My son used to love looking at a book of farmhouse animals and making the sounds. When out walking along a country lane, riding on his dad’s shoulders he began to ‘baa’ – he had seen his first live sheep and recognised it from the pictures in his book!
How reading to children can help them
Research shows that parents, reading to their children regularly, will help with the development of their cognitive ability. If you read to your children from an early age they acquire an excellent vocabulary and thereby understanding and acquiring knowledge. They will enjoy discussing what they are looking at and what the story is about. By reading to your children you are giving them a good head start for when they begin school.
Fathers reading to their children have a big impact on their learning and help their children to enjoy and value reading as a way to explore their world. Remember, through you, your children learn to like reading and reading with you is always special!
Reading every day, especially at bedtime, becomes a loved routine and there is no reason to feel that once they start to progress through school, you have to stop reading together. Indeed, research has shown that reading together helps parents and children share ideas and thoughts as well as relax and share unique moments together.
As your children get older there are many books out there to choose from – the popular celebrity authors’ books tend to be promoted by the bigger publishers but there are many more excellent writers that can be enjoyed. Share the books you enjoyed at their age; they will probably like them too. Look for books you will enjoy reading with your youngster as they mature, the classics, old and modern have a lot to offer and will develop their imagination, vocabulary and ability to use language well when writing. Non-fiction is good too; boys especially enjoy books with facts in them. One of the reasons why my books have a ‘Did You Know’ section is to whet the appetite for further investigations!