Parents can encourage reading well before their child can read on their own. In fact, there are plenty of ways in which parents can inspire a love of reading in their child before their first birthday. Reading to your child can play a huge, if not central, role in encouraging them to read on their own and to continue reading for the rest of their lives.
Reading to Infants
Newborn babies are born into a (mostly) visual world, and observe the world around them primarily with their eyes. For the youngest audiences, books with little text and big, bright images are a great way to introduce children to books as objects. Children will remain focused on the images, but your voice, the vocabulary, and the act of reading all help introduce kids to books and the routine of reading regularly.
Make sure to stick to thick cardboard baby books, too, since your child will most likely want to interact with it orally as well. Children learn a lot by putting things in their mouth during their early years since their other senses are still developing. Buying durable baby books can encourage your kids to interact with books in a way that they understand and can familiarize them with books as objects.
Babies 13-24 Months
As your child gets older, you can begin introducing books with more words. Reading aloud to children who are just sounding out their first words and beginning to formulate thoughts and sentences can help familiarize them with the sounds and rhythm of speech. A combination of reading to your child regularly and speaking to them can help build their vocabulary significantly. Acting out words, speech, or other parts of the book can help invite child participation as well, encouraging them to interact with the book, the text, and the performance of reading along with you.
The familiar routine of reading, particularly before bed, can be calming for many toddlers. Routine is an important part of a young child’s life and it can help them adjust to new things. By making reading at bedtime (or any other time that works for your family), can help instill lifelong reading habits and inspire kids to seek out books on their own, too.
Many parents are convinced that early exposure to books and reading makes a lifelong difference. Not only can it help children build a strong relationship with books and reading, but it can help them improve and expand their vocabulary and other skills as well.