Give a book to a young child and see what they do. Some will look at the front cover, some will open the book and turn the pages and others will turn over to the back cover. Whatever they do they are experiencing books. Put that experience together with a parent who is talking to them, asking them what they think is happening in the pictures and listening to their child’s response and you are offering your child a stimulating activity where you can share an experience together!
Children are never too young to handle books, and sharing books with their parents is quality time spent with your child. Below are a few tips to ensure that sharing books is a positive experience!
- Picture books for under 5’s are a great topic of conversation; it’s amazing how imaginative your child will be. It also promotes great language! Give them plenty of time to look at the pictures, talk to them about what is happening. You can make up a new story; ask the children what they think might happen next. Occasionally the children will associate what is happening in the pictures with real life, which gives them further opportunity to talk.
- It’s great to share favourite books over and over again. The repetition helps the child understand and remember the language that they hear. It’s not unusual for them to want to hear the same book again and again!
- Read simple stories and use your fingers to point to the words. This allows them to join in. They will build in confidence when they are able to sound out the letters at the beginning of words and will want to read more!
- Don’t read for too long; try to make it a regular session at bed time.
- Remember you are not teaching your child to read. You are sharing an experience together which is a wonderful way to help your child’s language development.Remember reading with your child on a regular basis gives them the best start to life!Jude Gardner B’Ed, Reception Class Teacher, St Hilary School