A story for the ages…
“There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all.”
–Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
With the ever evolving technical world of gadgets and gizmos, the competition for a child’s attention is fierce!
However, it would seem that nothing can surpass the humble book – especially for a child under the age of five. The ability to touch, see, smell, feel and hear the words of a book being spoken carry a special sentimentality.
As well as being educational, the ancient art of book reading can create a special bond between the child learning and the adult guiding them through the pages.
A baby won’t understand exactly what you’re doing or why, when you first begin to engage them in a book. Despite this, it is a an important form of stimulation that will teach them to communicate, build listening, memory and vocabulary skills, introduce concepts of numbers, letters, colours and shapes and give babies an insight into the world around them.
By hearing different words, babies learn the sounds they need to speak. Hearing your voice use different expressive sounds and emotions can promote emotional and social development. The connection between a child and their parent is then transferred to a love of books.
For a toddler, reading can give them and advantage as they have been exposed to language, social and educational activities. Understanding that the marks on the page represent letters and words is one of the first steps to developing an understanding of the alphabet. Toddlerhood sees a child go through big leaps in vocabulary as they learn more about the world through experiences. Books can help to reinforce this and enable a child to feel safe and comfortable with new concepts.
The gift of choice is also an option to allow your child to independently choose a book to read from a pile. Although, toddlers are likely to ask for the same book every night, and the night after that, and the night after that. Encourage this! Reading at least once per day will create a calming routine and makes for a wonderful bedtime activity.
By preschool a child will know all the practical basics of reading like: reading is done left to right, books are read front to back and stories have a beginning, middle and end. Reading independently can be encouraged with the emerging literacy skills. If your child is having fun while reading you have achieved the ultimate goal!
Remember that every child is different and learn at different paces. If you begin to read to them from a young age, you can foster a love for reading that can only benefit them as they grow and develop.
This month we celebrate The Children’s Book Council’s “Book Week” from the 22nd to the 28th of August. The CNCA celebrates its 70th anniversary this year with the theme – Books light up our world.