Can’t wait to read a bedtime story to your child? Great!
Reading is a flexible and free parent-child activity that you shouldn’t be missing out on. It’s a fun bonding time opportunity and a useful building block towards language development.
If you’re ready to flip through pages with your child, check out these tips to help you help them.
There are a few things that you can do that will help you both be at ease of reading. Let’s discuss them in more detail.
Get Rid of Distractions
Keep them focused by turning off the TV, any radio or music sources. Your phone should be on silent and notifications are off.
Create a Book-Filled Environment
Turn your home into a book-filled habitat. Having many books within reach can encourage both of you to take up the activity. You can also create a comfy nook in your house just for reading to make it part of your home.
Make Reading a Daily Habit
Read with your child for at least 15 minutes each day. The more frequently you read with them, the more benefits and retention to their language skills. Bedtime stories are perfect for this habit-building.
Model Good Reading Behavior
Children are very observant and tend to follow your behavior. You can lead them towards reading by practicing good reading practices as well.
If you’re not an absolutely avid reader, or have trouble reading as well, that’s okay. Reading can instead be something that you can practice together.
Let Them Choose What to Read
Lay out the books and ask them what they want to read. Giving them this choice fosters independent thought, and will help them be more engaged.
Toddlers may tend to memorize stories from the books they like and may even be highly motivated to read them to you.
Sit Comfortably Together When Reading
Kids feel more secure and will be more confident in the activity if you sit closer together or have them on your lap. This will also allow them to take part in holding the book and flipping pages, increasing their attention over the activity.
Use Pictures in Books
It’s not all about the words. Picture books encourage parent and child discussions. Bright colors in books and contrasting illustrations are eye-catching for children, so you can ask questions about where their attention is, like “What’s that?” or “What is he/she doing?” along with letting them infer what the story of the book is about.
Make It Fun
Don’t make reading a chore for them. Reading can be just as playful for children. You can try using voices and facial expressions to bring the words to life.
Look into books that offer interactivity. Pop-up books and books that have inner flaps or pull tabs are excellent for keeping toddlers engaged. Be enthusiastic and give your child your full attention during your reading time.
Show How Words are Read
Introduce your child to associating words to sounds by pointing your finger to guide their reading process (left to right, in the case of English). You can do this while reading, pointing at specific syllables as you pronounce them.
Let Them Take the Lead While Reading
When they start to read along with their own voice, let them! You can encourage them to do so by instead taking turns when reading. Eventually they will be able to read on their own, with a few nudges here or there when they get stuck.
Ask and Answer Questions
Talk about the book and ask about what happens and what they think will happen. Try to require a more complex response than “yes/no”. You can also encourage them to ask questions along the way and pause the reading to answer them. Communication is a two-way street after all.
The same as we discussed in speech therapy activities, try to repeat and expand on what they answer to introduce new words to their word bank.
Know When to Stop
Encourage your child to read, but there’s no need to force them into it when they have already lost interest. Be patient as it may take time for them to get used to longer reading times. It’s also possible that they might just have little to no more interest in the current book, so you can try and see if they want to read anything else.
Say How Much You Love Reading with Them
Reading can be a valuable bonding time for both of you. Let them know that you appreciate the time you spend together, and consider reading time as one of the best parts of your day with them.
You can do many other language practices at home. To learn what is best for your child at home, book your free consultation with us today.