A question that often pops up for parents is: “When should I start reading to my baby?”. It is advisable to read to your baby right from the start. Never wait till your baby can talk. Start it right from infancy. Reading will teach your baby to recognize rhythm and sounds of any language. They will start enjoying you read books to them straight away. It becomes not only comforting but also fun. This is also a good way for older siblings and grandparents to bond with the baby.
Numerous studies have shown that babies who are read to earlier in life develop great language skills. They also develop a great interest in reading books. This makes them ready to attend school.
Read regularly to your baby, and choose a specific time when you both can relax. The most appropriate is at bedtime. At the start let the reading take a few minutes. With time, you can extend that into longer sessions when the child grows older.
Always identify the most comfortable place to read from. Make sure all distractions are shut off. Television and radio should be shut off to increase the baby’s concentration. Use different voices to make the story more interesting. When you change a character, change the voice as well. Also try to act out parts of the story to be more interesting.
Children get interested in different types of books depending on their age life experiences and development. Babies love those books with interesting pictures to look at. If you have a toddler, buy books that make noises and have some fold-out parts that need to be unfolded to reveal something interesting.
The pre-scholars prefer books dotted with elaborate images, interesting stories, funny words and rhymes. In general children may be glued to books about baseball players, animals, princess and trucks. In addition to that, books with children as characters are also very appealing. To find out what are the favorite books for your child, you will have to try out as many books as possible in order to discover their preferences. There are some books which are highly respected by children. For instance, Dr. Seuss’s Cat in the Hat series and many other new books are master pieces.
You can visit your local library or book stores to get a clue into the different types of books available for your baby. The following tips are important when you are reading to your child:
Babies aged 0 to 1 year:
Make a habit of holding the baby close as you read, sing or talk to your baby. When the babies reach 3 months of age, they will enjoy looking at colors, faces and shapes. She will start making sounds and reaching out to touch the pictures. At this stage choose books with interesting textures and pictures.
When the baby reaches age 6-12 months, they will be able to sit on your lap as they look at the pictures. They may also put the book in their mouth. At this age, point out the pictures and spell out the names for them.
One to two year olds
At this age your child will be enjoying choosing the book themselves for the reading session. They will also be able to turn the pages on their own without your assistance. Ask guiding questions such as “where is the lion?” Then allow your child to point out.
Age 18 to 24 months:
At this age your child will start naming familiar images. She will also be able to fill in words in familiar stories. Encourage her to read even to her dolls and recite some of the stories to other family members. As you read ask questions and give time for your child to supply with the right answers.
That is a brief guide on how to start reading to your baby at home in preparation for school life.