I remember taking to reading like a fish to water. Years later, I still consider books as one of my best friends. I knew that I always wanted that for my child and when I was pregnant I started reading to my child. It didn’t bother me that my family members looked at me weirdly because in my mind the best time to begin reading is when a child is still in the womb.
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Though the little one could not see any pictures or words, she could still recognise and respond to my words. You might wonder how this is different from talking to your child, and the answer is in my child. She loves books and lights up when I read her the books from when she was still in the womb. For me that shows that her love for books started in the womb! Here’s a guide on how to get started with reading to your child:
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At this stage, books can be introduced to your little one. I recommend getting cloth books with sensory additions, such as rough and felt surfaces, as well as noisemakers. This will help your child feel and hear the book as you read to them. Cloth books also have the added benefit of being made of a material that won’t tear despite being chewed on multiple times.
The best way to engage children with reading is by being an animated storyteller. Parents can do this by varying their tones and pitches when telling a story and by really living the story through their body language and voice.
Slow and steady
They say slow and steady wins the race, and the same applies to the concept of reading. When reading to your child, you should be unhurried and meaningful. There should not be any distractions. Both parent and child should be relaxed. That’s why most would recommend incorporating reading to your child as part of a bedtime routine.
Oh the joy!
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Remember that reading is supposed to be enjoyable! Steer clear of reading to your child and turning the session into a reading drill. The focus should be on the story and the joys of reading as opposed to the technicality of pronunciation and enunciation.
Can you relate?
As your child gets older, encourage them to pick books that interest them. At this stage, you might also consider introducing books that your child can relate to. For example, if they are going through a new experience such as starting school or potty training, reading to your child about stories that deal with those subject matters will help them to identify with the characters and personally deal with similar situations.
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As you can tell by now, there is no hard and fast rule when you should start reading to your child. In fact every moment can be turned into the best time. When did you first start reading to your child and are they now avid and voracious readers?
For more on reading to your child, watch this video: