Raise a bookworm - Give your child books for Christmas
Raise a bookworm
So you want to raise a bookworm? Then encourage your children to love books long before they learn to read. Introduce books to your children as soon as their chubby little fingers can hold them. Babies will love to explore the pictures in board books. They'll also love chewing them, but that's okay. It's all part of building up a familiarity with books.
Growing up with books and regular story telling are key to helping your child develop a lifelong love of books. The crucial years that this attachment to books happens is 0 to 5, which is way before the age most children learn to read. Reading to your child will not only help them develop essential pre-reading skills, it will also make them eager to learn to read as they discover the pleasure that books can give. The earlier you start reading to your child the better and there's books out there that are suitable for every stage of development.
7 tips to get your young child excited about books:
'The Queen's Knickers' will have you and your toddler laughing
Make Storytime Fun
If you want to engage kids in any kind of learning, the number one rule is to make it fun! When kids are having fun, learning becomes a joy, not a chore. Sing nonsense rhymes, be silly and get into character by putting on different voices. Preschoolers will appreciate humorous books like 'The Queen's Knickers' by Nicholas Allan.
Tip: Encourage your child to join in with classic tales like 'The Three Little Pigs'. Kids will love playing a part in the story and even the youngest toddler who isn't talking yet can 'huff and puff' and blow the pig's house down.
Kids adore rhyme. Which is why they love Dr Seuss's books with their silly nonsensical rhymes. What child (or adult) wouldn't be enthralled by 'The Cat in the Hat'? All forty-four books that Dr Seuss wrote are full of zany characters that kids will love. And each story he wrote is full of rhyme, rhythm and repetition - all the things that make learning fun for kids.
Tip: Rhyme helps a child learn that words are made up of lots of different sounds. The development of this phonological awareness is a key skill in learning to read. So when your child wants to recite Twinkle Twinkle Little Star for the hundredth time, don't despair. It's all helping to reinforce these pre-reading skills.
Repetition, Repetition, Repetition!
Kids can't get enough of their favourite books and will often ask for the same story to be read over and over again. This is perfectly normal and shouldn't be discouraged. Hearing a familiar story makes a child feel safe and secure. What's more, children learn from repetition so hearing the same story over and over again will reinforce the rhythm, rhyme and meaning of words.
Tip: Your child will enjoy telling you what happens next in a familiar story. During story telling , pause now and again and let your child tell you that the wolf is about to blow the little pig's house down.
Home in on their Passion
Find books on topics that your kids are passionate about. Is your child mad about cars? Do you have a mini ballerina pirouetting around the house? Then choose books on these topics. Even the most reluctant bookworms will want to read on when the book is on a topic that they are really interested in.
Tip: Visit the local library or book shop and let your children choose books that interest them. Children are much more likely to want to read a book that they have chosen themselves.Most book shops nowadays will let you browse before you buy. You can steer your children towards the section that holds the books on topics that they're interested in.
Appeal to the Senses
In recent years, the children's book market has been flooded with touch and feel books that are especially suited to babies and toddlers. Touch and feel books come with lots of different textures that will help your child develop sensory awareness.These books are popular for good reason. Babies learn a lot about their environment by exploring new things using their hands and mouths. Yes, your baby is actually learning every time she puts something new into her mouth as it contains more nerve endings than any other part of her body.
Tip: Talk to your baby about the textures, colours and patterns in the books as she explores them. Some of these books don't contain any words but there's still plenty opportunity to introduce new vocabulary to your child by talking about the 'yellow fluffy chick' as she explores it with her hands and mouth.
Any Time Any Place
A bedtime story is a regular routine for many children. This is great as it helps your child wind down after a busy day and is a lovely way of spending one to one time with her. However, reading stories can take place at any time of day and shouldn't just be confined to bedtime.
Tip: Always have a book handy for car, train or plane journeys. It's a far better way of keeping your child entertained than any hand held console or DVD player. There are lots of books that come with the story told on cd that can be played in your car or on a portable cd player. And if it's all that's on offer, you'll find that your child will be quite happy with this educational form of entertainment.
Lead the Way
So you want you child to love books? Then make sure you're a good role model. If children see you reading regularly and showing a genuine enthusiasm for books then they'll follow your example. So don't feel guilty the next time you curl up with your favourite novel. You'll be showing your child how pleasurable reading can be.
Tip: Kids don't always think of reading from gadgets as 'proper' reading. So make sure your child sees you reading 'real' books, newspapers and magazines as well as your kindle or tablet.
As Dr Seuss said, "The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you'll go."
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