Reading with your child



By Kirsty Newbury


Reading with your child needs a cosy “soft” space which provides you with a quiet area in which to sit or lie on some cushions and relax while enjoying a picture book or simple story.
It is a great way for you both to retreat to and “escape” the hustle and bustle of the day.

So Why Are Books Important?

Sitting with your child and looking at books, pointing things out and talking about the pictures often becomes a rewarding experience for both of you as your child develops reading skills such as: picture recognition, naming of familiar pictures, increased listening skills and the beginnings of “story telling” (re-reading the story to an adult after it has been read to them, often over and over again!!!). Books encourage closeness, quiet time and lots and lots of learning!

What Style of Books Can I Provide for My Child?

  • Picture Board Books – with bold, clear illustrations, often showing ordinary household objects, animals and people. These seem to be the most popular as the pictures often relate to your child's life.

  • Simple Naming Picture Books – books with pictures and names in text. Illustrations in these books tend to be more complex, showing a lot of detail for your child to explore. These books are also known as “Format Books” – showing objects and words in different categories such as “in the kitchen”, “at the beach” or “in the garden”, which helps to increase word vocabulary.

  • Novelty Books – books which involve your child in various ways, motivating further interest in books. These include books which squeak when a picture is pressed or books with flaps which can be lifted up to reveal a hidden object underneath, creating a sense of anticipation, excitement and wonder!

  • Picture Story Books –books with more story text which encourages your child to sit for longer periods of time not only enhancing listening and comprehension skills but also imaginative, dramatic and creative play skills. These are also good for promoting concentration.

Hints for “Book” Experiences at Home

  • If your toddler is one who wakes early in the morning, sturdy board books in the cot or near the bed is an excellent idea as it encourages independence and self-help skills as they amuse themselves without disturbing the whole household.

  • Books are also invaluable as entertainment when travelling on long journeys or when waiting at the bus stop or in a doctor’s surgery;

  • A book at bedtime is a wonderful experience in itself and is a way to unwind at the end of the day. Spending warm, comfortable moments together such as this creates opportunities for you to learn more about your child’s interest in books.

  • You don't need to spend a great deal of money filling up a 'library' for your child. Purchase a few good quality 'special' books that you read together and keep a few cardboard books for your child to read while they are playing alone. If you can't afford to buy lost of books, make one! Sit with your child and select pictures from old magazines to cut out. Paste them into an exercise book and presto, you have a personal book of your own! You can also encourage your child to draw their own pictures if they wish instead.

Books for Babies (0-1 years)

  • Soft, 'squishy' books are generally the best for little ones as they will explore them with their mouth.

  • Purchase some cardboard books as these will be the most sturdy.

  • Read to your baby at every opportunity! Talk about the pictures, colours, shapes, sizes of things, count, compare, the sky is the limit. The more you read the more likely your child will be to develop an interest in books themselves!

Our Little Treasure is an exciting free collection of information for parents and carers. The site is designed to benefit children ranging between birth and six years of age, with a section called 'Little Gems' specifically designed for children under 12 months.
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