Supporting Your Child With Reading

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There’s nothing quite like reading a good story with your child. It’s a special bonding experience that can help your child develop a love for reading. Plus, reading together is a great way to improve your child’s literacy skills.

Research has shown that children who have reading support at home tend to perform better than those who do not. This is because they are more likely to have a positive attitudes toward reading and feel more confident in their abilities.

But did you know that reading together every day can also have some amazing benefits for your child’s overall development? 

Here are just a few of the things that reading with your child can do:

– Help them develop language and communication skills

– Improve their ability to concentrate and focus

– Enhance their problem-solving and critical-thinking skills

– Foster their creativity and imagination

– Boost their self-confidence and self-esteem

– Give a wider world understanding as they experience new situations through stories

– Improve mental health and emotional maturity by exploring character emotion

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When should you start reading with your little ones?

Children as young as newborn babies – and in fact, children who are not even born yet – are able to enjoy a good story. Unborn babies can enjoy the soothing tones of their parents voice as they read a story. Of course, unborn and newborn babies cannot understand the content of a story, but the quality time together is definitely beneficial. Not to mention, the exposure to a wide range of vocabulary is great for their development no matter the age! 

So, I wouldn’t waste any time in getting started reading with your little one!

How to make reading a success!

Cuddling up together to enjoy a story or two is a wonderful experience you’ll both treasure for years to come, but when it’s bedtime and everyone is tired, how can you make sure you’re both enjoying the experience?

Here are 10 reading tips to help you on your reading journey:

– Make sure you’re reading a book that your child will enjoy. If they’re struggling with the material, it’s not going to be fun for either of you.

– Take turns reading. This way, they can follow along and feel like they’re part of the story. If you’re child isn’t able to read yet, you can pause when you reach a word they will know. For example: ‘He had purple prickles all over his …..!’ Pause at the word ‘his’ and see if they can give you the next word. This is a particularly good way to shake up a story that you’re child has read time and time again!

– Ask questions as you read to encourage interactive listening. What do they think will happen next? Who is their favorite character? Why did they do that? 

– Make reading time a special event by reading in a cozy spot with pillows and blankets. You can even make it into a game by taking turns finding new hiding spots to read in. 

– Spend time reading yourself, especially when your child is around to see you reading. Developing a deep love for reading is a mindset that should be supported by the entire household and the more exposure your child has to reading, the more likely they’ll be to love reading themselves!

– Read outside of bedtime. We know that bedtime stories are popular and something that most households aim to do, however reading outside of this time is also crucial, because you want your child to see reading as a fun activity to do in its own right – not just something to do in order to avoid bed! 

– Make your child’s book corner accessible. Use something like a plate rack or narrow shelf to display the books forward-facing. Your child will have a much better time choosing a book if they can see the covers, rather than finding them all together in a box. 

– Enjoy a picture book! Picture books are not just for babies. They can be SO powerful and create such wonderful dialogue between you and your child. Some of my favourites are: 

  • Lines by Suzie Lee
  • Dog on a digger by Kate Prendergast
  • Tuesday by David Wiesner 
  • Flotsam by David Wiesner
– Make a static book interactive! You can make a book interactive in a range of ways. For example, you could create a story basket to go alongside the book filled with items that are used in the book. You could put post-it notes onto each page covering pictures or words so your child can pull them off and discover what is hidden underneath. Finally, you could display a few books and ask your child to find certain things within a book using clues. For example, Can you find the character who feels very angry? By having to choose the correct book, they are working on those comprehension skills to identify which book you are talking about! 

– My final tip is to remember that story time is for YOU too! Take the time to revisit some of your childhood favourites. For me, this is Winnie The Pooh! By sharing what you loved as a child, your joy will rub off on your child and I am sure they will love it too!

Reading time can be something both you and your child look forward to every night. Giving a child the gift of a love for reading is one of the most magical gifts we can give! 

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