Reading Early and Often

What’s your first memory of sharing a book with your child? My first memory is propping a board book on the floor for my son during tummy time. You’ve probably heard that the earlier you start reading, the better. But maybe it seems useless to read to your toddler, who is always on the go. Or you feel silly reading to your infant. We have all been there. However, research supports the value of reading to young children. Reading creates connections in the brain that promote language development as well as cognitive and social-emotional development. Simply, reading fosters early learning.

Incorporate Reading in Your Day

  • mom and daughter readingTake an activity break – cuddle and connect with your child by opening a book.
  • Don’t worry about finishing an entire book — focus on the pages your child enjoys most.
  • Make reading a part of your routine (for breakfast, bedtime, transitions, etc.).
  • Place a book in the diaper bag to use while waiting at the doctor’s office, in line at the grocery store or waiting for your carry out dinner.
  • Model reading.

Picking Books

  • Interactive books (touch ’n feel, lift-the-flap and pop-up) provide an additional benefit
  • Read your child’s favorite book again and again.
  • Select books your child sees themself reflected in.
  • Use books to expose your child to unique topics – art, history or science.
  • Share books you loved as a kid.
  • Choose diverse books.

Involve Your Child in Reading

  • Discuss what’s happening in the pictures and ask your child questions about the story.
  • Read with expression, vary the tone of your voice and use different voices for different characters.
  • Ask your child to add sound effects for certain characters.
  • Talk to your child about the repetition, rhyme and pattern of a book.
  • Encourage your child’s questions about the story.
  • Pause before a familiar line or word to see if your child will fill in the missing line or word.
  • Let your child be a helper by turning the page or holding the book.
  • Ask your child to predict what will happen next in the story.

More Ways to Add Books to Your Life

  • Associate books and reading with joy.
  • Give your child a book as a gift.
  • Borrow books from the library.
  • Place books throughout your home not just in your child’s room.
  • We have StoryWalks set up at many parks around town. You can make reading and books part of your visit to the park and part of your physical activity.

Get Free Kids Books to Keep

Pick up a copy of Groovy Joe: Ice Cream and Dinosaurs by Eric Litwin from the Kids Library desk or Curbside Pickup during Kansas Reads to Preschoolers week Nov 15-21, 2020. One per family. If we run out of Litwin’s book, we will have another free kids book available.

If your child under 5 isn’t already part of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, they should be! This free program mails an age-appropriate book to your child every month from birth (or as soon as they sign up) until their 5th birthday. All kids in Shawnee County are eligible for Imagination Library.

Make Your Reading Count

Sign-up your early learner for 1000 Books Before Kindergarten and you’ll be rewarded along your reading journey.

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As the Early Childhood Learning Coordinator, Sherry is focused on engaging young children and their families in play-based early learning experiences. The Learn & Play Bus and its service are at the heart of her work. Sherry has a background in early childhood education.