Recently, I heard a little girl and her mom talking about the aquarium in the Kids Library. It went something like this, “Nemo is a fish … he swims … I see him … here he comes …” Soon, the little girl ask me, “Do you have Nemo books?”
The conversation between the little girl and her mom continued while I searched the catalog for Nemo books. I smiled as I considered the little girl: she is a book lover. I congratulated the mom on a job well done. The little girl and mom walked away with a bag full of books (and yes, one was about Nemo).
That conversation reminded me of snuggling alongside my son and enjoying a favorite story. It seemed like time stood still as we read our favorites. I loved that cozy feeling of closeness. We created a strong bond through the pages of a book. Research shows that reading to a child promotes positive emotional and social development. It also promotes healthy brain development.
Truly, there is something magical in reading to a child. A young infant nestles in your arms and gazes at your face while you read to them. While a toddler asks for a favorite story to be read again and again! A preschooler takes on the role of storyteller as they remember repeated lines in a story. Reading books aloud to kids expands their world, encourages their imagination and develops their language.
Tips for reading with your child
- Be sure to make reading with your child fun.
- Make reading a part of your daily routine.
- Offer choices – a book about cars or a book about tigers.
- Find age-appropriate books with familiar characters (Daniel Tiger, Dora) or favorite topics (tractors, puppies).
- Ask engaging questions (What will happen next?). Encourage your child to ask question too!
- Let your child tell you the story.
- It is okay to read the same book over and over.
- Don’t compete with the TV or the phone.
- Use different voices for the characters in the book.
- Invite family or friends to read a story during a visit.
- Let your child get the wiggles out or read for a shorter time if they are distracted.
- Sign up for the 1000 Before Kindergarten program. You’ll earn rewards along the way to your 1000 books goal.
- Sign up for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library to get a free book a month mailed to your home.