Reading together from the beginning
You can start reading with your children when they are very young.
Babies enjoy the sounds and rhythm of songs and stories and looking at the pictures in books from the beginning. This helps them with reading later on.
Reading aloud to children is one of the best ways to share the pleasure of books and reading. It helps to bring books alive for children and is enjoyable. It’s also important because listening to stories helps children develop as readers. They learn how stories go and how books work and begin to become familiar with the language of books. They will understand the meanings, learn to recognise jokes and begin to predict what might happen next. This experience builds knowledge and confidence, which will support children’s independent reading.
Sharing books together
Children see the words on the page and gradually begin to match them with what they hear. They will learn from watching and listening to you. By reading stories with patterns of rhyme and repetition, children are able to join in with the reading.
Talking about the story as you read together is really important – about the meanings, the pictures and the words. It enables children to share their understandings, make connections with their own experiences and to sort out any questions they have.
You can read aloud from rhymes, songs and information books as well as stories.
Reading books over and over again helps children to develop favourites and to be able to choose books they’d like to share.
As children become familiar with more and more books the stories and language will feed into their play, their language, their ideas and imagination.
Sharing stories will help them to become successful, independent readers and writers.
Even when they can read for themselves, reading aloud and sharing books together will be a great way to introduce new books, enjoy favourites and to talk about their meanings.