Here are some helpful tips on how to introduce books to your child by Maggie Bellamy
Introducing a love of books to children of all ages including babies and toddlers allows them to gain a better understanding of the world around them, and allows their brains to form connections. The pictures in the books will be something that they can relate to, while reading books loud to your child will help with their developing speech as they begin to speak – even reading to your new-born is beneficial, as it allows them to become familiar with your voice.
Below are a few hints of how you can introduce books to your child:
Sing or Talk About the Pictures
You do not have to read the words to tell a story. Instead, you can try “reading” the pictures in a book for your child. When your child is old enough, ask him to read the pictures to you, and tell you what is happening.
Let Children Turn the Pages
Babies will not be able yet turn pages on their own, however a 18-month-old child will want to give it a try, and your three-year will be able to turn the pages for you. Allowing children to turn the pages will encourage their interest as well as provide a good opportunity to develop motor skills.
Show Children the Cover Page
Before opening the book, show your child the cover and talk to them about it. If you have an older toddler, you can ask them to predict and tell you what the story might be about.
Show Children the Words
Running your finger along the words as you read them, from left to right, will help your child to understand that we read from left to right, as well as follow the text.
Make the Story interesting
Why not create voices for the story characters, use your body to tell the story, make it exciting and animated, and let your child see that book are fun.
Personalise the story
Try and link the story to something that the child can understand and relate to personally. Mentioning your family, pets, or community when you are reading the story will help the child understand better if they can relate to it, for example when you went on holiday.
When reading with older children use the story as a way of creating a conversation, going back-and-forth with your child. Ask your children questions leaving time for them to think and answer, but also allow them to ask you questions, don’t worry if they go off track and start talking about other things, this is a vital part of your child’s speech and language and allows their brains to develop.
Let Your child tell the Story
Children as young as three years old can memorize a story, and many children love to be creative through storytelling. Try allowing them look at the pictures and tell you their version of the story…
Why not Create Books Together
Collect photos of outings, family occasions, your child’s favourite things, or cut pictures out of magazines or catalogues to make word books. As your child gets older, have him or her dictate a story to you and then draw pictures to go with the words.
Remember it’s never too late to share books with your children. The more that books are woven into children’s everyday lives, the more likely they will be to see reading as a pleasure.
Maggie Bellamy has a BA (Hons) in Early Years and is a Childcare and Curriculum advisor for Busy Bees Nurseries. She has worked for the company for over 5 years, previously managing one of their outstanding nurseries. Her experience also extends to local authority schools, out of school provision as well as smaller private nurseries.
Maggie’s role within Busy Bees is to offer support and guidance to a group of nurseries on how to develop their enabling environments, supporting children’s learning and development through challenging activities and the key person relationship. A key element of Maggie’s role it to stay a breast of current research, curriculum requirements and best practice within Early Years Education and share her knowledge with other nurseries; thus ensuring the best experiences for children.