Teaching a Love for Books

The most important language stimulation we can provide to our infants and toddlers is reading to them, says Pamela High, M.D., FAAP. “I think that the most important thing parents do by reading with their infants, toddlers, and preschoolers is to teach them to love books and stories so much that they will be very motivated to learn to read, even when it is a difficult task for them,” she says.

That motivation is strengthened even as the bond between a parent and child grows while they share reading time. “The other really important aspect of reading with young children is that this always occurs within the relationship,” says Dr. High, who is Chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Early Childhood, Adoption, and Dependent Care. “This activity provides busy parents a reason to slow down and pay total attention to their child and the story. This often becomes a favorite time of the day for both parent and child. When parents read with their children as part of a regular bedtime routine it also promotes healthy sleep habits.”

Reading, rhyming, singing, and talking — beginning from birth — profoundly influence literacy and language development, the foundations for all other learning. The results last a lifetime.

Quick Tips for Reading Fun

Start talking, singing, and reading with your child from the beginning. Even though your child can’t read when he’s an infant, he’ll get the idea that books are fun and reading is a fun activity you share together.

  • Repetition is good — it helps a child build important language skills.
  • Reading doesn’t have to be a huge project. Just a 3-minute story every night before bed will help get your child interested in reading.
  • Board books and soft books are good for infants to get used to holding a book in their hands — and enjoying the experience.

This article was featured in Healthy Children Magazine. To view the full issue, click here.

Last Updated 11/21/2015

Source Healthy Children Magazine, Back to School 2008

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