As parents, we’re role models for our children. These little beings look to us for guidance while they try to figure out everyday life. If we have to lead by example to make sure they learn good manners, have great values and so on, we should also show our kids that we’re readers ourselves if we would like them to be one themselves.
Take your book and sit down and read in front of your child. Give him/her a pile of picture books to look through. It doesn’t matter if he/she flips through a couple of pages before diving into another book. The whole point of letting your child see you read (your own book) is to show that reading is fun and that it’s part of family time spent together.
We tried this out and it worked so well. Without a doubt, Theo can’t read by himself. However when he sees us taking our books to sit and read, he runs to his bookshelf to get himself some of his favourite books and joins us on the sofa. He proudly exclaims, “Thedore reads! Theodore reads!”
Do not expect uninterrupted reading time because toddlers will do a million things to try and get your attention. In our case, he might attempt to rip a flap off a book or simply point out a random animal on the page. When Theo tries to describe something on the page, we respond why asking him questions and letting him take his time to answer (sometimes he doesn’t even answer!). It’s all about ENCOURAGEMENT at this stage, I believe.