5 Tips for Raising Readers

  
“My baby won’t sit still and read.”

“My baby just chews on books.”

“My baby is too young to understand.”

“I sound silly reading aloud to my baby.”

These are the top most common statements I hear from parents who don’t read daily with their children. Often, these parents know that reading is important for a child to develop literary skills and they do want their children to develop good reading habits. However, the reasons they give stop them from reading daily with their little ones. 

Whenever my friends tell me any of the above reasons, I urge them not to give up and simply keep trying. 

1.  Start young

I never quite understand why it’s too early to read to babies simply because they won’t understand. It’s not as if we stop talking to babies because they won’t understand us. The whole point of speaking and reading to them is so they get used to our voices, pick up vocabulary as they grow and learn communication skills. It’s NEVER too early to read to the little ones. If they won’t sit still to look at the pages, so be it. They haven’t got the attention span but they can still hear you speak the words. 

2. Make it a routine

To encourage reading, make it part of their daily lives. Many people encourage reading at bedtime. I recommend reading whenever your child is in the best mood for it. It could be in the morning, afternoon or before going to bed. In our home, I try to do it 3 times a day. We have two piles of books by the bed which we read in the morning and night time. It’s really nice to snuggle up close to read a few books before starting the day. In the day, we read by the bookshelf in the living room and we spend about 30 to 45 minutes just reading and looking through books. 

3. Let your child pick the book

I make sure my son has easy access to his books. He’s free to pull them off the shelves and flip the pages. Paperbacks are placed higher up and can only be read under adult supervision because he is not exactly the most gentle being on earth. He gets to pick whatever book and I’ll read them to him. It doesn’t matter if he decides on a different book after I’ve read a couple of pages. I let him take the lead.

4. Make it fun

Go beyond the print on the pages! Make silly noises because kids love it when you make a fool out of yourself. Be animated, and ask questions. Even if you’re reading to a baby, ask questions and provide the answers. One fine day, he or she will respond positively and you’ll feel so rewarded. 

5. Keep reading

Don’t give up just because your child doesn’t seem interested. Who cares if you sound or look silly reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar out loud surrounded by your own four walls? If you do it often enough, you’ll soon know what your child likes and dislikes, and how to get his/her attention. 

I Love You Through and Through By Bernadette Rossetti-Shustak

  

My son’s nickname is “Teddy” even before he was born. Therefore, we have the tendency to get clothings with bears on and books that feature bears as the main characters. He has recently learnt to be more affectionate towards his cuddly toys so I was thrilled to come across this book which features a little boy with his teddy bear.

The story is essentially very simple yet meaningful. It lets your little ones know that you love them for being them – love their top side, bottom side, fingers, toes, inside, outside  and so on. When I read it to my son, I point to the various body parts so he knows where they are. It reinforces that every little bit of them is being loved. 

Given that it’s a really short and simple book to read, young ones won’t get easily distracted and will probably enjoy sitting on your lap to let you read it through. I love the ending where you tell your little one that you loved them yesterday, love them today and will love them tomorrow too.

Listen, Listen by Phillis Gershator

  

Another beautifully illustrated book by Alison Jay which has an antique-feel to it, Listen, Listen lets children explore the different seasons through the sounds of birds chirping, bees buzzing, hammocks swaying in the wind and leaves rustling. 

It offers not just a story; children can play “I spy” and spot the various objects on each page. For older children, this is a great book to talk about seasonal changes and wildlife. 

I like the short rhyming sentences in the book which make it suitable even for babies who are notoriously known for their short attention span. At the same time, this is a keeper for its educational purposes. It also comes in a big, sturdy board book format – perfect for my one year old who’s still into chewing books!

Dog’s Colourful Day by Emma Dodd

  

Dog is white with a black spot on its left ear. Follow him in this fun story to learn about numbers, colours, sounds and simply enjoy a colourful day out with Dog. 

He’s covered in jam, paint, chocolate, mud and much more. It’s a really enjoyable concept book that introduces counting from 1 to 10 and colours in an interesting way. At the end of the book, you can also recap the adventures that Dog has been through that day. 

Thank you Aunty ZoĆ« for Theo’s birthday book!!!