Reading to Your Child
We all know how important stories are for child development. But when my daughter was born with a hearing impairment, I went on a journey into reading that was more impactful that I could have imagined.
Prior to her birth, I wasn’t an avid reader. To be honest, I may have read half a dozen books my entire life. We now value reading in our home and I’m proud to say I read around six books a year and listen to an additional six audio books a year. I’m pretty thrilled with the change. And it is so important to me that I practice what I preach to my kids.
So why should you join me on this journey and read to your child?
1. Stories help develop a child's imagination
You can ask your child to talk about what they are seeing and thinking in response to a book, and help them understand the patterns of language. It also helps them to learn the difference between reality and make-believe.
2. Stories help children cope with feelings
Reading and telling stories can be a safe way to explore strong emotions and understand new events. Examples are books about going to the hospital, or dentist or starting school, and they help your child learn about the world around them.
3. Stories help children develop early literacy skills and have a lot of fun with words.
When we show our love for stories and reading we can help foster the same love in our children. This helps them in basic literacy skills and in fostering life-long reading practices.
Tips for reading and storytelling
- Turn off the TV or radio and find a quiet place to read so your child can hear your voice. Read to your children every day, even for a few minutes. We find bedtime is a good time in our home.
- Make books part of the daily routine.
- Find picture books that don’t have words and make up the story together.
- Try a range of different books and stories, from picture to chapter, from biographies to fantasy.
- Take your children to the library for story telling sessions and to choose books to borrow.
- And if, like me, you have more than one child, make time to read to each child individually to honour their unique tastes.
- When your child reads out words on signs or food packets tell them you are proud of their reading.
- Be prepared for your child to read the same book time and time again (repetition is the key and this helps them get familiar with words and scenes in the book).
One of the best parts of reading stories with your children is that it gives you time together, bonding and building your relationship. Life is full of stories and so reading so reading helps foster great social communication skills for later in life. Happy reading!
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