Parents are constantly told that reading to their children from a young age is important. Reading to young children helps them develop language skills. As they get older, it helps them to become independent readers. While you should be concerned that your child learns when you read to him, don’t lose sight of the fact that reading together is FUN. If you treat reading like a chore, your child will come to see it in the same light. Try implementing the following tips to make reading fun for your toddler and yourself.
1. Create A Routine
One of the easiest ways to make reading an activity you and your child will look forward to everyday is to make it part of your child’s bedtime routine. If you start this nightly ritual when your child is an infant, you will not only be setting your child up to become a eager reader, you’ll be creating a soothing environment to help him end his busy days and settle into sleep easily.
After bath time, pick a book or two and find a comfortable spot where the two of you can sit and read. Read a variety of books. Take your time as you read. Toddlers enjoy the illustrations and often like to stop and talk about them. Go ahead and take some time to study the colors and textures on each page. Include silly books, gentle books, books about factual things and fairy tales. Many kids enjoy finishing their bedtime story session by reading the same book each night. Goodnight Moon is a classic book with a calming, repetitive rhythm.
2. Combine Books With Other Activities
If you are planning an outing, select books that relate to the upcoming activity and read ahead of time. If you are going to the zoo, read about animals you might see or read about Curious George’s visit to the zoo. If you are reading a book about colors or numbers, follow up with a painting session or help him or her bend chenille stems into number shapes.
3. Get Creative
Toddlers love to tell stories. Have them draw pictures and narrate the story for you to write on the bottom of the drawing. Put the drawings into a notebook so that you can revisit the story from time to time. If you live far from family and friends, put photographs into a small album and tell your child stories about the people in the pictures so he gets to know about important people in his life.
4. Use Your Library
Make weekly or biweekly visits to your local library. Find out what types of children’s programs they host and try to attend ones that are age appropriate. Many libraries offer regular story hours, puppet shows and even craft activities. Let your child pick a few books on his own from the children’s section. Let him see you choosing books for yourself as well.
5. Make Books Special
Create a family tradition of exchanging books on important holidays and birthdays. Inside the cover, make a note of the occasion and date it for your child’s reference when he is older. The book can be related to the holiday or event or you can select something you might have loved as a child. It’s never too early to start building your child his own library!
Time you spend reading with your child are times you will both long remember. You might think that reading Goodnight Moon for the 800th time is an exercise in futility, but your child is learning every single time he hears his favorite story. Relax and enjoy yourself. It won’t be long until your child is reading to you!
If you enjoy these tips, click here to find out more on how you can teach your child to become a fast and fluent reader in just 12 short weeks!