One of the best gifts you can ever give your child is a love for reading. It’s something they can use forever! Before school starts, you can help your child get started in reading. Even if they can’t read a word before the school year begins, giving them an introduction to reading is so important for developing their love of books. Here’s how to do it.
Talk a lot
In the toddler stage, talking to your child all day and narrating your activities is a great way to communicate and help make the connection with your child. Children are like sponges at this age and they soak it all right up. It expands their vocabulary the more you tell them about the world around them.
Read a lot to them
You can start reading to your child while he’s in the womb! But even if you didn’t do that, you can still read to him as often as possible now. Set up a story time with your child every day and keep to it. You can even do it twice a day if you feel it’s too much to sit for 30 minutes at once. Try 15 minutes mid-morning while he eats a snack and then read again for 15 minutes at bed time.
Go to the library
Even if your child can’t read yet, take him to the library. They have gobs of free activities for children, plus you can let him pick out books he wants you to read to him.
Make sure he sees you reading
Kids imitate everything we do, so make sure he sees you reading. It sets a good example. Turn off the TV and grab a book for yourself. Other ways to show reading is important is when you’re cooking and using a recipe, or when you’re driving and you pass an important sign.
Give books as gifts
A great tradition to start is one that involves giving your child a book or even two of them on birthdays and holidays. You don’t have to buy them new either. Save money and trees by heading to your local second-hand store. They usually have a huge selection of gently-used children’s books for less than a dollar each.
Don’t forget to be patient throughout this process too. Your child doesn’t have to know how to read walking into preschool on the first day, or even on the first day of kindergarten. He will get it and continue to grow. Be a positive light in the world of reading without forcing it and he will love it as much as you do.