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.
You can read aloud from rhymes, songs and information books as well as stories.
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 develop their understanding of the ideas in stories, 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.
As children become familiar with more and more books the stories and language will feed into their play, their language, their ideas and imagination.
Children who have enjoyed a book will often want to hear it again an again. This is important for their reading development. Reading books over and over again helps children to develop favourites and to be able to choose books they’d like to share and helps them begin to feel confident to take their own first steps as readers too.
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.
Sharing stories and talking about them with your child 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.
For more about reading with older children see here