As parents and carers you play a vital part in your child’s education and sharing books will help to develop a love of stories and reading, and show your child how enjoyable books can be. Sharing books will encourage language development and support discussion of ideas and feelings. Most importantly, your child will see how you value books and reading.
Reading is a key skill that helps us to learn and to live our lives - so starting to read is an exciting and important stage in children’s development. Children practise many of the skills they need for reading over a long period, long before they are ready to make sense of printed words. This includes things like:
Speaking and listening: talking with children helps them build up a store of words they will meet later in print.
Role play: children who see reading as a part of everyday life and have opportunities to pretend at reading are becoming prepared for the real thing.
Rhyme: sharing rhymes with children helps them to listen to the patterns of language.
Remembering: as they become readers children will need to remember letters of the alphabet and the sounds they represent, the meanings of words and also the sense of what they have just read.
Some of the ways you can help are:
• Talking with your child as you go about everyday activities
• Telling them the words for unfamiliar objects
• Using describing words as you explore things together
• Take time to stop and look carefully at things on a walk
• Sharing songs and rhymes
• Playing games like ‘I spy with my little eye something that sounds like ….’ or ‘something that rhymes with…’
• Playing with your child will, help them to concentrate and develop their memory skills such as matching pairs or ‘I went to the market and bought…’ taking it in turns to add something to the list.
Sharing a book is fun, so finding the time when you both are receptive and not too tired is important. Have a conversation about the story and the pictures, encouraging the child to tell you the story if they wish, to turn the pages, and to ask questions. Please allow them to choose the book again and again – repetition and familiarity are building blocks for the development of language and literacy and confidence. Children may wish to tell you their own version of the story too.