Reading times as they grow

You can read to your child anytime, but to help you get the best out of your reading times, here are a few simple tips that will make books a special part of your day.

Reading times

Your own reading

You're never too old for story time. But if your reading skills are holding you back from enjoying a book with your child, free help is easy to find.

Words are everywhere

The world is full of new words to introduce your child to. There are lots of things they haven’t even heard of yet and even just walking down the street, you’ll be amazed at what you can read to them. The side of a parked van, shop signs, even someone’s t-shirt.

Read when you can

Whatever your routine, if you can, try to fit a little bit of reading into your day. Whether it’s reading them the sides of the cereal pack, the side of their toothpaste tube in the morning or a book before bed, reading out loud will help make reading part of everyday life and give your toddler a confidence with words that will last a lifetime.

Reading as they grow

Choosing the right story

Choosing the right book is very important but how do you do it? If you have a cat at home, they’ll probably love hearing about a kitty’s adventures or it may be that they prefer the fantastical world of fairytales. The best way is to pick up a few books (for free from the library) and see which one they shout "again! again!" for when it’s finished.

Watch the Bookstart Bear video and have fun reading with your little one:

Point and say, then repeat after me

Before children know that words are words, they see them as silly squiggles on a page. You can help get your child off to a good start just by running your finger along the words, left to right. This will help your toddler to realise that those squiggles are in fact words.

As they get older, your child loves to copy you so why not get them to repeat words after you? It will help them to learn words – and if you point to the matching picture on the page, it will help them to understand what those words mean. You can also help them get to grips with words by reading slowly. Adding in some pauses will help you to read each word at a pace that your child can understand.

Babies and books

Even when they are really little, children enjoy being read to. The sound of your voice is the most comforting thing to them, so start reading to them now and you’ll give them a taste for reading from an early age.

Touch and feel books

Babies learn so much about the world by touching things. From their own toes to your nose, they love exploring with their fingers. If your little one is at this stage then they will be fascinated by touch and feel books. These great books can show them that sheep are woolly, horses are hairy and robots are shiny.

Introduce them to books that buzz, pages that pop up and fuzzy felt, and you’ll laugh to see their surprise as they discover a new texture.

Picture books

Picture this - a book with no words. That may seem strange but your child will love them in the same way that people like looking at the pictures in magazines. Whether it’s a book full of puppies and kittens or dragons or wizards, your baby or toddler will be enchanted by the story.

Point to the pictures and tell your child what they’re seeing. It’s the perfect introduction to the world of books and stories.

First word book

Dog! Duck! Ball! Your child’s first books are exciting for you both. Books with big pictures and just a few words are ideal for children who are beginning to put words and objects together.

Your little reader will love it when you point to the words and tell them what they say. Soon they’ll be able to repeat the words after you – that’s a big step towards helping them to read by themselves.

Rhyme time

It’s fun to rhyme with your child. In fact, it will help them with words too. Rhymes make words easier to remember so introduce your toddler to a Little Teapot or Humpty Dumpty. Sing them out loud and your child will soon be singing along too.

Happily ever after

For a child, bedtime can seem so boring. But a book at bedtime can convince them getting their pyjamas on and going under the covers is a good thing. From touchy feely textures to magical stories about dragons, reading is lots of fun at any age. Sometimes you might not even make it through the whole story before they’re off to sleep.

More useful links

Information based on similar messages from Play Talk Read Scotland.

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