November is Family Literacy Month and a perfect time for families to adopt daily reading habits with their children. Reading aloud to your child regularly helps him or her prepare to read later. It builds your child’s vocabulary and attention span, teaches your child names, shapes, and sounds of letters, can increase your child’s memory, and ignite her imagination and curiosity.
Reading aloud together every day is the most important thing you can do to help your child prepare for school. It’s never too early to start!
Choose sturdy board books, washable cloth books, or books that allow baby to explore using touch. Choose books that excite your baby’s senses. Babies love books with real faces and bold colors. Stop often to let your baby touch the pages and point to the pictures. Help your baby learn new words by naming the objects in the pictures again and again.
- At four months, hold your baby close and hold the book so your baby can view the page.
- By six months, your infant may be more interested in grabbing the book to suck on. Give your baby a teething toy as a distracter.
- By eight months, your baby might want to try turning the pages. Allow your baby to try, and then keep reading.
- By 12 months, your child might point to objects you name or make the animal sounds.
- By 15 months, as your baby becomes more mobile, be flexible with reading times.
Make reading an active experience with your toddler. Choose books with flaps that lift and parts that move or rhyming books and books with silly words or words that repeat. Use your finger to follow the words on the page so your child can see what you’re reading. Listen to what your child says, and then answer back. This helps your child learn about conversation. If it’s a story you read often, ask your child to guess what happens next. If your toddler is squirmy or restless, stop reading and try again later.
- Listen to stories for longer than 5 minutes.
- Recognize a book by its cover.
- Pretend to read books and ask to be read to.
- Understand how to handle books.
- Say the name of objects on a page.
- Notice words on signs and in places other than books.
- Want to read the same book over and over.
Preschoolers are building vocabulary and communication skills. Choose books that allow you and your preschooler to discuss, pretend, and predict parts of the story. Your preschooler will also like books on a favorite topic. Let him choose the story. Make it fun – try substituting your child’s name for one of the characters in the story or using silly voices. Visit the library often to find new books your child likes. The more you read, the longer your child’s attention span will become.
Your preschooler might…
- Show interest in trying to read.
- Connect what happens in the story with things in his or her life or point out objects from stories.
- Ask questions or answer questions.
- Retell the story later.
- Make comments showing understanding of the story.
- Be able to listen to longer stories.
Want more tips? Click here!