Shared reading, no matter the age, is the single most important activity that you can do to help your child get ready to read. Reading together increases a child’s vocabulary and general knowledge, and inspires their curiosity. Children who enjoy being read to are more likely to want to learn to read themselves.
Babies & Young Toddlers
- Choose books that have bright and bold colors or high-contrast illustrations.
- Keep books where your baby can easily reach them to touch, hold and explore just like your baby’s toys.
- Reading should be an enjoyable experience. If your child starts to lose interest, return to the book later.
- Find books with pictures of animals; say the animal’s name and then make the animal’s noise. Making animal noises helps children develop the sounds that will form letters when they learn to talk.
- Every time you read the same book, your child gets something new out of it. Repetition is necessary and good. Read favorite books again and again… and again.
Older Toddlers & Preschool Children
- Focus on the letters of your child’s name. When you see the letters of your child’s name, point it out! Scramble letter magnets around and have your child find his/her “letters.”
- Read your world. Read words everywhere you see them – street signs, grocery store labels, posters, anything!
- Use your finger to trace the words on the page as you say them. This helps your child understand that the squiggles on the page are letters and have meaning which helps connect the written and spoken word.
- Act out the story as you read it. Choose books that encourage moving around or making noises. Be creative!
- Read a book from the non-fiction section. Children learn words for things that interest them. Build vocabulary while reading about your child’s interests.
Check out our Early Literacy Tips series of blog posts here for additional activities to get your child ready to read.