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Reading to your child from an early age can really set the stage for future learning by encouraging them to develop the habit of reading. Children love when they get your full attention and reading achieves just that. Children have wild imaginations so continue to fuel them by reading stories. Here are a few tips to enhance the bonding experience and make reading more fun and more educational for your child.
- Get the children involved - children love stories so keep it exciting for them by having thought-provoking, engaging reading sessions. Show them the book cover, ask them what they think it might be about and after one or two chapters, ask them what they think will happen next. Ask them which part they enjoyed most, what they think of the drawings and anything else related to the topic.
- Sit side by side - both the child and yourself should be able to see the book. Let them enjoy looking at the pictures while you read the story out loud for them. Read with them, not to them. Show them pictures in the book, discuss what it is and the colours and make a conversation out of it.
- Make reading a regular habit - incorporate it into your weekly routine. It's a great habit for your child to pick up when they start to read themselves. The more a child is read to, the more they will like to read. It is important to create a positive environment when you are reading to your child as they will then relate reading to positivity and be likely to do it themselves in the future.
- Increase their vocabulary - stop when you cross a word you think might not be in their vocabulary - repeat the word and tell them it's meaning then continue reading.
- Answer their questions - your child might have questions about the story so take a break from reading to answer them patiently. This will encourage them to continue to ask questions when in doubt.
- Be a fun reader - when the tone and style of storytelling get monotonous, children tend to lose interest. Create anticipation and suspense by raising your voice, changing your tone, whispering and switching your style to fit the dialogue! Children love action so you can even act a little - small gestures and hand movements can make it that much more exciting for them. Make it fun for them because being read to improves their listening skills as well as their imagination.
- Exposure - introduce your child to a variety of books and topics so they can see different situations, learn about different characters and broaden their scope of thinking.
- Be wholehearted and enthusiastic - try choosing a story that you will also enjoy so it shows in your reading.
- Choose age-appropriate books - We liked this list of books to read to your children.