The Department of Education cites reading aloud with children as the number one way to build successful readers. The goal is reading aloud to children for a minimum of 20 minutes a day in order to build a love of stories and books. Reading aloud with very young children can be a challenge.
Here are a few tips to keep it going:
- Start from day one and build it into your routine – The idea is to start reading aloud early, before you think they are really listening. Make it a habit from the beginning. Books offer a well edited version of the language which is beneficial for young children to hear.
- As an alternative, spend time just looking at, labeling and talking about pictures together – As your baby is a little older, they might not have the patience for listening to stories. It is beneficial to share time with books in other ways. Spend time looking at the pictures together, point to and label objects, have them find new objects. It’s fine to just look for and label colors, or tell pieces of stories in your own words as well.
- Read aloud daily even if they aren’t paying much attention – Once your toddler is up and moving around, they might not want to sit long enough for a story. Let’s say you try to read, and they are up and down to play with toys. At least occasionally, the answer is to stay seated yourself and continue to read aloud. They are in the room so they’re still hearing the language. You are also modeling reading aloud.
- Read aloud when you have a captive audience – Read aloud when riding in the car, or when you are waiting in line at the grocery store and they are buckled into the cart.
- Share more active books – Introducing lift-the-flap books, puppet books, pop-up books and picture search books can increase their interest.
- Go for books based on their interests – Okay, this is an obvious one but if they love trains, go for train books often.