So, finally got round to registering the little one’s birth, and super delighted to be handed the Book Trust book pack. I honestly thought this was something that had been squeezed thanks to the recession/austerity/govn cuts etc etc but no! Two free books and a leaflet giving advice on how to share books with your little one. There’s nothing ground-breaking within the advice as such, it’s mainly stuff that will come naturally to you I’m sure, but the bit I really like is the part that says ‘you don’t have to be a good reader yourself to read to your child.’ This is because it is the soothing sound of your voice that is more important than the actual words. You could read them the football results and it wouldn’t matter. What your child will really enjoy is the act of sitting on your knee, cuddling up on the sofa, whatever you fancy that makes the experience fun for both of you. Therefore, even if you feel a bit nervous about it, do give it a go. The younger the better too. Starting really young (and I’m talking weeks old) might feel a bit ridiculous at first, as clearly they won’t understand a word, but if you can make the act of reading enjoyable, then I promise it will stay with your child for the rest of their life. Just a quick look together when they are in that tiny window of calm, or part of your routine before naps. If, however, you’ve got older ones of which books don’t seem to hold their attention, then choose books with interesting, bright pictures and spend your time looking at them instead. You don’t even need to read the story, you could play a spotting game, or you could ask your child to show you the colours they know, names of objects they can point out etc, anything that boosts your child’s confidence around books. This is all about making your child feel good about themselves and their skills. Asking your child to choose the book will also boost their enthusiasm. They’ll soon let you know their favourite one – of which you will get to know very well!
Pick your moment though. Obviously if they are totally wriggly and getting annoyed then don’t force them into trying to read, do it at a more peaceful time, perhaps before their nap-time or when they are still sleepy in the mornings (apparently that actually happens and not all kids fly our of bed like it’s on fire!) I am also a huge advocate or the bath, book, bed routine at night. You can see earlier posts on that one, as I think a book before bed is a given. The reading I’m talking about here is when they are fully alert and keen to learn.
I truly believe if you show a love of books and are enthusiastic to share them with your child, they will also fall in love with them. Keep it up, and thanks again to Booktrust. If you want more tips then do check out the Booktrust website www.booktrust.org.uk. You can of course also raid earlier posts on this blog for more ideas!
Happy reading x