We all know that reading to our children is important for their development, as well as building the bond between parent and child and instilling a love for reading at an early age. Even the youngest of infants enjoy hearing the rhythmic lull of a parent’s voice as they read aloud the morning paper, a magazine, or book. You can keep their interest and fascination in high gear by implementing special rituals and routines into your daily story time.
Choose books that are age appropriate. While infants that are three months old or younger won’t really care what you read so long as they are being held and cuddled, older babies enjoy books with a set rhythm or rhyming pattern. Consider things like songs or nursery rhymes. Picture books are another good choice. Toddlers and preschoolers are old enough to appreciate a short story before bedtime, and will enjoy guessing what happens next; while older children and pre-teens are advanced enough to enjoy chapter books that will continue on for more than one sitting.
For kids who are learning their alphabet, consider having story time on one of many colorful rugs or mats. There are several available that feature letters, words, and corresponding pictures to help children grasp new concepts. As you read a new word or letter, have your child find the corresponding letter on the rug.
Don’t limit story time to bedtime. Reading a classic fairy tale or story before bed is fine, but be sure to spend time reading and exploring new ideas, concepts, and information while he is awake and alert. This will encourage his participation in asking questions and finding the answers within the book.
Encourage your children to read to YOU. Even if they are still too young to fully grasp the idea of reading actual words, babies and toddlers love looking at colorful pictures and pointing out shapes and objects they recognize.