Parent & Child Interactive: Importance of Reading

Reading is a great opportunity for your child to explore new adventures. There are endless children's stories including those about various places, modes of transportation, feelings, sharing, families, and so much more! Story time is a crucial activity for a child’s vocabulary growth. You can find a book for almost every aspect of your child’s life. However, every parent knows the struggle of finishing a book with a child under the age of 3. Instead of focusing on finishing the book, try to interact with the book. Below are some tips for a successful story time!

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  • Read face to face.

Although story time is a great opportunity to snuggle with your child, try to turn towards your child while you read. If your child is sitting on your lap, turn your head to make eye contact. Reading across from your child works as well. When your child can see your face while reading, they will begin to associate facial expressions with certain actions. Sad, happy, angry, and/or exciting parts of the story will take on a whole new meaning!

  • Add gestures or repetitions.

The more interactive your story time is, the longer your child will be engaged. Create silly gestures or facial expressions for different parts of the book. Have your child repeat common words or phrases while pointing to different objects. If your child is old enough, allow them to be the page- turner. Continue to find new ways to have your child involved in the reading process!

  • Listen to your child.

Depending on the age, a child may not be able to listen patiently to an entire story. Follow your child’s lead during story time. The conventional way of reading a book is not always the right way. Some different options may include: starting on the page that interests them the most, reading only the two pages they like, or starting from the end. Another option is to only look and talk about the pictures. Be sure to allow enough time for your child to soak up each page!

  • Change the words.

Switching complicated vocabulary to simpler words will help your child understand the story line better. As time goes on, you can incorporate the more advanced words into the story as their understanding of the book strengthens. Remember to read through the story slowly and stress the most important parts of each page.

Even if you are tired of the same story over and over again, your child loves to reread books. The more times a child hears a story, the better they understand how the words relate to the pictures. They also will have the chance to increase their vocabulary. Try reading the book in a new way or pointing out new objects if you feel like you cannot get through it again.

Incorporate as much reading throughout your daily routine as you can. The earlier you read, the sooner your child will find it enjoyable. Carry books in your diaper bag to read when you have a spare minute! Read during lunch time, rest time, and/or before bed. Have fun reading!

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References:

Pepper, Jan, Elaine Weitzman, and H. Ayala. Manolson. "Sharing Books." It Takes Two to Talk: A Practical Guide for Parents of Children with Language Delays. Toronto: Hanen Centre, 2004. 132-33. Print.