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I was five months pregnant with my son; my pregnant belly starting to pop through. It was a stormy and rainy evening. I snuggled up in a blanket next to the long window, found a childhood favorite book of mine, and began reading to my unborn child.
In that moment, I imagined how many evenings I would have like this with my son as he grew older and developed a love for reading. Reading is one of the simplest and best activities you can do with your child at any age.
And you know what? Reading with my son (present time) has been one of the easiest things to engage in with him! Not to mention we have made some pretty adorable memories together sitting in the rocking chair reading book after book.
Reading with your child is fun, but it is also important to do! You are your child’s first teacher. Therefore, sharing a passion for reading with your child will only peak their interest in books and set the way for a successful educational future. Before children even reach kindergarten, they need a foundation of language and reading. The importance of reading to your child starts with you!
When Should I Begin Reading to My Child?
It’s never too early to start reading to your child! Honestly, you can start the day you come home from the hospital with that sweet baby in your arms. At this stage of life, your baby is comforted by your voice. Therefore, reading to them gives them a chance to hear your voice while listening to sentence structures and voice intonation.
As your baby grows older, reading to them each day is a benefit. They begin to understand the left to right reading method and can soon start implementing that as they attempt to turn the pages for you.
Closer to the toddler stage, your child may even attempt to start “reading” the book to you through their baby babbling. All of this learning they are doing with a simple book yields a love for reading and learning later on.
Like I said before, I started reading to my son when I was pregnant with him. Probably a little extreme, but this gave me even more bonding time with him while my husband was at work. This was a way for me to carve out some time when it was just the two of us and he could hear my voice without any other noises around me.
How Can I Read to My Child?
Incorporating daily reading time with your child is not a difficult thing to do. You can make this something you do in a daily routine such as at nap time or bedtime. You can also make it a spontaneous activity and pick up a book during random times of the day.
If my toddler could, we would read books all day every day! His love for reading just tickles me and I only hope that he continues to have a fond connection with literature as he grows up.
You can also try changing up the scenery where you read to your child. Lay a blanket on the grass outside and snuggle up for a read! This enhances your child’s senses even more. If you are reading about the trees or grass, you can incorporate seeing the trees in the yard or feeling the grass beneath them. The outside world is filled with tremendous learning opportunities.
During my days as a daycare teacher, much of my classroom’s daily activities were structured around a book. I would read a few silly and fun books to the children in my care while also incorporating a book or two that was relevant to the lesson theme of the week. Then, I expanded on this book by providing learning opportunities in the classroom that the children could use to expand on what they had just learned.
What Types of Books Should I Read to My Child?
The types of books you read won’t necessarily matter when reading to an infant. They like seeing the colors of the book, watching you turn the pages, and hearing your voice.
For a toddler, however, I would suggest grabbing books that are eye-catching. Think bright, short, and engaging books! Cardboard type books are usually the best kind of books to have in the presence of a toddler because the pages don’t tear easily. We all know how a toddler can destroy things in 2.5 seconds!
Some fun books that my toddler loves to read include books that are engaging. These books have pop-up art or little flaps on each page for him to flip through. He loves being engaged with the story and showing me what he has discovered through his reading!
Where Can I Find Books to Read to My Child?
Try heading to your local library and seeing what they have in their children’s section. In my experience, libraries have books for different developmental stages that you can read there or checkout. This is also a budget friendly way to save on books! Library books are special too because you get something new each time you go. This makes it exciting to read a different book constantly.
Check out Amazon’s assortment of books as well! They have books you can filter out by age. They typically have a deal of some sort going on also to help you get the most books for the best price. Plus, they deliver right to your door.
When I was pregnant with my son, I was obsessed with getting his nursery put together (not sure why since he didn’t sleep in there until after his first birthday). Anyways… I really wanted his room to incorporate reading and learning. So, I headed down to the local Goodwill and found dozens of books to buy for around a dollar or two a piece. This was great for a start!
There is also this new trend going on that I’ve noticed where people bring a book instead of a card to a baby shower! This is a great way to build up your child’s library with special books from people who came to shower them with gifts. You can go as far as having people write special notes inside the books as well.
Reading is Important!
We all know that children are like sponges. They absorb and learn so much in a little amount of time. The facts surrounding the importance of reading to your child have been proven to boost their language development. This is a precursor for getting your child ready to enter kindergarten.
Seize those moments to connect with your child as well as expand on their language through reading! These moments come and go quicker than we think; don’t let these opportunities pass you by.
Looking for more reasons to read to your child? Check out this working mom’s post about 10 Reasons to Read to Your Child!
How Do You Implement Reading with Your Child?
Each family is different and requires a variety of strategies. What strategies does your family use to incorporate reading with children? How old were your children when you started reading to them? Help other families by giving them more information and strategies in the comments below to implement in their homes!