Raising a Reader: Starting with Infants

From the moment you are expecting your first child, you are overwhelmed with information and advice about the importance of reading. There are good reasons for this as it is important to instill good reading habits and skills in your child from infancy and as they go into adulthood. The benefits of reading at every stage of a child’s development are well documented. Some of these benefits include, sparking your child’s imagination, stimulating curiosity, social and communication skills.
Raising a reader is fun, rewarding and relatively easy. Here are some ways that you can help your child be a strong reader and grow a love for reading:
1.) Reacquaint yourself with Reading. If it has been awhile since you read a book, now is the time to bring it back. Make space and time for books that you can read yourself. If you want your child to be interested in reading, be a reader yourself.
2.) Read to your child every day and out loud. You can start reading to your child as early as infancy. You can read anything to a newborn, such as a cookbook, a parenting manual or a dystopian novel. Research has shown that the number of words an infant is exposed to has a direct impact on language development and literacy. The language should be in person and directed at your child.
3.) Use your senses. Have your child touch and feel the pages, use different tones in your voice, point at the visuals of the illustrations. Texturized books are especially good for your child’s tactile experience.
4.) Know your audience. It is important to make eye contact, but don’t look for a particular reaction. Your child is listening and absorbing the experience even if it seems like they are not. The patterns, routines and attentive habits that are set now will last a lifetime.
5.) Get your infant talking. Infants may start making sounds in response to your reading. Many books for this age contain silly words, or animal sounds because they are easier to mimic. If your child starts to make the noises, respond. This will hone in on developing their communication skills.
Helping your child, at an early age, become a strong reader and enjoy doing so will give them the essential literacy skills they need when they enter adulthood. Reading together is also a fun way to bond and grow a deeper relationship with your child.


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