The importance of reading at every age

15 Aug 2019

At Oac, we believe it’s never too early to start reading to children and exposing them to quality literature. By reading to young children, you foster a love of books and reading right from the start.

Our ‘Book of the Month’ program showcases a specific book for Nursery, Toddler and Preschool/Kindergarten children each month. These books have been chosen because they are interesting for young minds and have the ability to adapt in a range of literacy learning contexts such as spelling and reading.

Encouraging children to develop a passion for reading begins at a young age, even before they are old enough to read themselves. There are many useful tips and tricks for getting your child interested in reading that you can practice at home.

Reading to your baby

Starting early is important! Did you know the roots of language begin developing in a baby’s brain before they can even talk? The more words your baby hears over time, the more words they become familiar with. At Oac, we read to babies for the same reason we talk to them - to reassure, to entertain, to bond and to inspire curiosity. In reading out loud, you also condition a baby’s brain to associate reading with a positive and happy experience.

Tips for reading to your baby

Babies love action! Encourage language development and an interest in reading by keeping things lively and engaging when you read to your baby. Here are some tips to help your baby grow into a happy and confident reader:

  • Keep it short: Infants need to move and are constantly on the go. Don’t worry if they tumble or roll around as you read to them. They may be moving but they are still listening!

  • Choose engaging books: Books featuring animals, vehicles and nature invite movement and the making of sounds, and books with detailed textures to touch encourage sensory learning

  • It’s all in your voice: Use pitch variation, vary the volume from loud to a whisper and articulate your words clearly to sound engaging and keep their attention

Reading to your toddler

Few children learn to love books by themselves. Someone has to lure them into the wonderful written world; someone has to show them the way – Orville Prescott

Research has shown that reading out loud to children is the single most important thing a parent or Educator can do to prepare a child for future academic success. There are many benefits of reading to your toddler, such as:

  • Improving comprehension

  • Reducing stress

  • Boosting brain development

  • Deepening a bond between you and your child

What should I read to my toddler?

Zero to Three have excellent resources and recommendations on what you should be reading to your toddler based on their age and development. Generally, toddlers between the ages of 12 – 18 months enjoy stories with pictures of other babies, animals, people and objects from their environment that are familiar to them. It is recommended that toddlers between the ages of 18 – 24 months are introduced to longer stories and books with paper pages, under supervision. Toddlers of this age engage in books with humour, rhythm and silly rhymes.

Tips for reading to your toddler

  • Encourage questions: Ask your toddler who their favourite character is and to describe what the characters look like.

  • Read their favourites: It is likely that your toddler will have a favourite book. There is no harm reading it to them over and over again. Toddlers find familiarity comforting and reassuring.

  • Make mistakes: Toddlers grow in confidence from demonstrating their knowledge. Make mistakes on purpose when you are reading to them or pretend to struggle when pronouncing simple words so that they can correct you.

Reading to your preschool/kindergarten aged child

Read early and read often! Be a reading role model to your child by reading with them on a regular basis and use book-time as a reward for positive behaviour.

What to read to your child

The Children’s Book Council of Australia has a number of book recommendations in the early childhood category which can be found on their website. This resource is a great starting point with a wide variety of non-fiction, poetry and drama texts which will help introduce your child to a range of different types of reading.

Tips for reading to your preschooler

  • Make a reading routine: Introduce a reading routing to ensure your child is reading consistently. Make reading part of their downtime and going to bed routine

  • Be a role model: Reinforce to your child how much you enjoy reading with them, and talk about story time being one of your favourite things to do together

  • Point out words: Talk about the written words you see in the world around you such as the words on street signs. Ask your child to find and learn a new word during every outing

  • Use tongue twisters: Sing songs, read rhyming books and say silly tongue twisters to help your child become sensitive and attune to the sounds and pronunciation of words

Remember, your child’s Educator at Oac will be happy to share with you the books that we are currently enjoying in our curriculum as part of ‘Book Week’ and our ‘Book of the Month’ program. There is such a diverse range of literature available for children at every developmental age, and it is never too early to start getting your child interested in reading!

To celebrate the 2019 Children Book Council of Australia ‘Book Week’, you can win 1 of 3 book prizes. Follow us on Instagram and tell us in 25 words or less your child’s age and why you enjoy reading to them for your chance to win! Click here to enter. Terms and Conditions apply.

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