When should you start reading to your child?

One of the many ways that you can help children love literacy and develop their literacy skills is to spend time reading with them. Whether it’s part of a bedtime routine, afternoon quiet time or at your local library, reading with your child is a vital part of their development, that has numerous benefits. Here’s some reasons why it’s so important to read with your child.

Benefits of reading with your child

Helps develop listening skills: Reading to a child helps them to stop and listen. Even if it’s an ‘active’ book where you are acting out the story, they still need to be able to listen to what’s happening in the story to be able to act it out with you. Listening skills are important as children transition to school, so that they can better concentrate and learn new concepts quickly.

Improves language: Children who read with adults tend to grasp the nuances of language more quickly as they are listening to the way words are put together. This in turn helps develop speech as they try and copy your words or listen for the rhyming and patterns in sentences.

Understand how books ‘work’: As they watch and listen to you, they learn to follow words, learn how to turn pages and understand that words are read from left to right and top to bottom. All important skills as they learn to master the art of reading themselves.

Creates a bond: The best reason to read to your child though would have to be the bond that it creates between the two of you. Sound, touch and sitting together gives your child a sense of comfort, belonging and love.

With so many benefits of reading with your child, when is the perfect time to start? We believe that it’s never too early! Here’s an age appropriate guide to the types of books and ways that you can read together.

Birth to six months

Books that are printed in black and white are a perfect choice at this age, as babies start to develop their eyesight. It also may seem strange reading books to children that can’t yet communicate with you, but it is providing vital building blocks for their literacy development. At this age you might like to attach soft books to the pram or spend ‘tummy time’ reading your favourite childhood book to them.

Six to twelve months

Children at this stage love nursery rhymes or simple stories that have rhyming words. Try board books as they start grasping and trying to turn pages or books that you can point to words and pictures that you can name, like faces or animals. Pack a book or two in the nappy bag and bring them out when you’re in a café, a park or need a quiet activity.

One to five

As children move closer to school age, books with simple words that you can sound out or have rhyming words that make it easy to guess what’s coming next are a good option. Continue to use
books as part of your daily bedtime routine, making it a quiet time to wind down and cuddle together.

School age

Even though your child will start to be able to read by themselves, it’s still important to continue to read to your child, or have your child read to you. Make sure that they see you reading books or magazines and enjoying it too! Books at this stage vary in difficulty depending on reading ability and interests.

Reading is the perfect activity to enjoy with your child. It’s never too early – or too late – to start reading with your child to help them develop their literacy skills. If you would like your child to continue a love of reading, or to see what it’s like to experience literacy in a fun and creative setting, visit our website to book your free trial lesson with us.

Leap into Literacy provides small tutoring classes with a focus on reading comprehension and writing. Using techniques that allow students to become creative in the learning process, sessions are fun and achieve maximum results!

Classes are held at our centres in Drummoyne, Balmain, and North Willoughby, as well as other locations around Sydney, and are available for preschoolers and school age children in Years K-6. 

If you are interested in finding out more about how Leap into Literacy can help your child, SIGN UP NOW FOR YOUR FREE TRAIL CLASS AND ASSESSMENT!