Developing a love of books and reading is one of the most exciting and rewarding journeys that you can share with your children. As well as being enjoyable we know that children who read for pleasure are likely to do significantly better at school than their classmates. A study from the Institute of Education found that this activity not only improves their vocabulary and spelling but also, perhaps surprisingly, their achievement in maths. It appears these children are able to learn and understand new information in all areas of the curriculum more easily.
Even very young children will enjoy looking at simple pictures and many picture books have wonderful eye-catching illustrations. The pictures are as important as the words. Babies may start to pat or point at pictures and try to copy any sounds you make.
Your toddler will usually enjoy the challenge of joining in naming and talking about the pictures. Between 2 and 3 years children typically learn hundreds of new words. If they are interested you can extend this activity by relating places, people and objects to ones that are familiar to your child.
Some picture books provide great opportunities for introducing colours, shapes and numbers. They can also be the start point for a range of play and fun creative activities such as painting and drawing, building and exploring.
Reading aloud combines the benefits of talking, listening and storytelling within a single activity and helps to build the foundation for language development. Children love Dads to read to them too! However we may need to encourage them to do this as research by the National Literacy Trust showed that only one in four Dads regularly read to their children. The Trust has a very friendly website for parents, called Talk to Your Baby, which is full of lots of tips and lovely free resources.
National Literacy Trust www.literacytrust.org.uk
Talk to Your Baby www.literacytrust.org.uk/talk_to_your_baby