Reading is a necessity for some people and a hobby for others, but either way it is something that we start to take for granted as adults, forgetting that there was once a time when we couldn’t read. The sad fact is that for many adults, this is still the case. They lose out on the joys and the benefits of being able to read, and quite often it stems from lack of commitment and time from the parents during childhood.
There are a great many reasons why reading with your child is so important. Of course, it is the sort of activity that will help you to bond with the child as well as help to form your child’s imagination. But there are so many additional important factors – ones that could help to shape the life of your child.
Reading is the fundamental foundation required by children on which to base all learning. Without the ability to read effectively, every other subject taught at school is going to be difficult or impossible to grasp. Learning to read is no easy task for some children, and the most crucial years in terms of literacy development are from birth to the age of around eight.
Taking the time to read with your pre-school child will help to really lay the foundations for success. Your child will start to recognise words, ask questions, and develop an interest as well as an eye for reading. Your child will start to make relevant connections between the words and their meanings. With your help, your child can enjoy the learning process, benefit from a firm foundation in literacy, and will be fully equipped to succeed when he or she starts school.
Of course, you will need to change the methods you use to help with your child’s reading as he or she grows older. As an infant, bright colours and noises are going to be attractive to your child. There are many interactive books available for infants to day, such as farm animal books with noises. Your infant will love helping you to press the button and then watching as you point out which animal the noise relates to. And pretty soon, your child will be doing it alone. Already, your child will have started associating sounds, words and pictures.
As a toddler, your child will enjoy bedtime stories, and you can choose from a wide range of magical and colourful story books which will keep your toddler enthralled. You will find that you child develops an interest in pointing out pictures as you read, as well as wanting to try and read alone. If the story is one that you read regularly, you will be surprised at how the child will almost memorise that comes next, and may sometime jump in before you have a chance to finish the sentence.
A couple of years on, and your child will be eager to start reading alone. You can encourage this by reading the first part of sentences in a book from which you have regularly read bedtime stories. You can then pass the book to your child to try and finish the sentence. A great deal of this may be done from memory, but the child will also be looking at the words, thus learning to associate the words with the story. Fun activities like picture games or stories with colouring in sections can also help to develop your child’s interest at this age.
Learning to read does not stem from learning the alphabet, which is a common misconception. A good reading foundation comes from interaction with a parent, who is able to make the art of reading and telling stories fun and magical for a child.
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