It is never too soon to start reading to a child. The melody of book reading provides a soothing rhythm for your baby to hear in the early days. Soon the child is intrigued to look at the pictures and before long they become interested in holding the book. Often, the first books they enjoy have simple pictures with only a single design or object on each page. Holding the book near your face, while naming the pictured object, may help the child make early connections. It is natural for a child’s interest to be brief at times for books, particularly if they are focused on learning to move. As a child develops, their attention for books may increase as well. Commenting on the picture stories of lengthier books helps prepare them to eventually listen to the complete sentences of the book. Use your voice to express your interest and their interest will increase as well. The repetition of the words of familiar books can be comforting. Follow the child’s lead as to which books to read and how often. Keep reading exciting and fun and everyone will enjoy it. Quick reading tips to keep in mind:
- Name what the child is looking at rather that what you are looking at in the book.
- Use choices for books.
- Take turns naming the pictures and asking, “What’s that?”. Let the child pretend to be the teacher, too.
- Leave off the last word in a sentence in a familiar book to encourage the child to finish it. (e.g., The itsy bitsy ______.)
- Wait for the child to respond before automatically saying answers. Using expecting eyes and raised eye brows can help a child realize you are interested.
- Use excitement in your voice when naming and reading.
This post was written by Joanna Wiebe, Speech Language Pathologist.