Tuesday 12 February 2013

Teaching Your Toddler to Love Reading

Teaching your child to read is one of those crucial life moments that all expectant parents daydream about. You imagine them, snuggled up on you knee, toying with the letters and spelling it out until they work out what the word is. Learning to read is a right of passage, and it’s something we look forward to sharing with our children.

Children don’t learn to read properly until around the age they start school; some before and some after. That doesn’t mean you should disregard reading with them until that age, you can teach them the importance of reading from a younger age.

Teaching your toddler to love reading is the first step on the important path to reading success. Many parents feel unsure how to approach reading with a toddler, so here are some helpful suggestions:

Enjoying a charity shop find
1. Incorporate reading into your everyday routine. This is as much for you as it is for your toddler, adding it to your routine is the best way to make sure you don’t forget. You could read a bedtime story every night before bed, or you could read a book first thing in the morning. Choose a time that fits in with your routine. Let your toddler choose the story each time, and don’t moan if he always picks the same story (even though is can get a little boring reading the same book over and over, it just means he likes it).

2. Have lots of books to choose from. Hopefully this will reduce the likelihood of you reading the same book for weeks on end, although some kids do pick favourite books and stick with them - sorry! You can pick children’s books up really cheap at your local charity shop, keep an eye out for some bargains. It’s also a good idea to take your toddler to the library regularly so he’ll have lots of books to choose from. Having a variety of books will show your toddler that you can’t get bored of reading, because there are always new things to read about.

3. If your toddler has a favourite book, keep referencing it during the day. For example, if the book features a cat, you can ask your toddler about the book when you see a cat in the street. This will remind him about the book, and increase his attachment to the story. Gently dropping comments about the books throughout the day, will encourage your child to look forward to story time.

4. Let your toddler see you reading books for enjoyment. These days, we spend hours glued to the TV, tapping away on our laptops and swiping hungrily on our smart phones. Some children probably won't ever see their parents reading books. Children love to mimic our behaviour; if they see us enjoying reading, then they too will want to enjoy books. It’s hard to find the time to read, especially with a toddler running about, but do try to make the effort to let your child see you reading for fun. It will change how they see reading.

Enjoy spending some quality time reading to your toddler, and remember, make it fun.

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