Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Reading with Your Baby

Reading with your child is the most important activity you can do to help your child get ready to read. It’s never too early to start! Reading, talking, and singing to your baby help form the brain connections that build language and literacy skills during the time of most rapid brain development. Reading also strengthens the bond between you and your baby. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents and caregivers read to babies from birth onward.

Here are some tips for reading with the very young:

· Snuggle up together and read with feeling. Your baby knows and prefers your voice and your face. He may not be able to understand the words or story in a book but will respond to your expression and the emotion in your voice when you read or talk with him. Just hearing your voice and being cuddled up with you will associate two things he loves – your voice and you – with reading. This will make reading a pleasure, not a chore, later when he is in school.

· Choose colorful and sturdy books. Babies learn with their mouths and hands. As they get older they will want to touch the book, hold it, turn the pages, and put it in their mouths. They also like books with simple, colorful, and high-contrast pictures.

· Plan a special reading time. Make this time special – turn off the TV, put your phone down, and give your baby your full attention. Babies and active toddlers may lose interest in a book after only a few minutes. That’s okay! Put the book down and come back to it later, or try another one. Don’t give up. Your baby’s interest and attention span will grow as she does. Just keep reading with your child.

· Read together every day. Establishing a reading routine can be very helpful as babies grow into toddlers, especially reading aloud together as part of a nightly bedtime ritual. Toddlers love to make their own decisions, so let them pick the books you read together. They also love repetition, quickly develop favorite books, and may ask for the same story over and over, so be sure to offer choices that you like too!

· Make time to talk about the stories and illustrations. Toddlers can point to pictures and characters in the stories. Preschoolers can point to letters, count some of the pictures, and answer simple questions about the story. Sometimes they may even “read” a much-beloved and often-read book, turning pages and telling the story as they go along.

Reading aloud with young children is fun and rewarding. It strengthens the bond between parent and child and provides tremendous learning benefits that will last a lifetime.

Guest post by Allison C. 

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