Reading to your child is a fun and educational activity you can both enjoy, no matter how old your child is. By reading to your child from the time he or she is an infant, you will help develop a lifelong love of books, and of learning. You will also contribute to your child’s early reading ability, helping to prepare them for school. It is never too early to start reading to your child. One study performed in Rhode Island showed that infants who were regularly read to had a higher percentage of receptive vocabulary (meaning, words they understood) by the time they were 8 months old when compared to children who were not read to on a regular basis.
There are many different types of reading activities parents can enjoy with their children, and the best part is, they’re all free! The local library, or bookstore, are excellent resources for reading activities for parents and children to enjoy together.
Infants & Toddlers
Every night, read one or two books before turning out the lights. Use voice inflection to animate the story and keep your child interested. Encourage them to point out the characters in the book. Point out colors, numbers, and shapes throughout the story, giving your child a head start on important lessons that will prepare them for pre-school. Another fun activity in this age category is Story Time. Check with your local library or bookstore, as most offer several per week.
Continue with your nightly routine of reading a book to your child before bed. Encourage your child to point out words they recognize. If it’s a book you’ve read many times, encourage your child to “read” it to you, instead. Children in this age category enjoy art projects. Have them write their own book, where they draw the pictures and you write out the words.
Have your child read a short story to you every night before bed. Continue visiting the library, and apply for their very own library card. At home, create vocabulary projects such as alphabetizing words, sentence structuring, and crossword puzzles. You can even go online and print some of these types of activities off the Internet.
By encouraging your child’s love of reading, you’ll be setting them up for success in school, and life. Stay involved every step of the way, and remember to enjoy this precious time together.