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One of the many worthwhile activities you can do with your baby is reading to them. It does quite a lot of good for both the baby and the parent. Reading to your babies early in their life instills in them a lifelong interest in reading. And studies show it is linked to a higher level of language skills. Now, you’re probably thinking of grabbing a book and start reading to your child, but you’re also wondering if doing so makes sense. Will your baby understand what you're saying? When should you start reading to your babes? How to read children’s books aloud? These and more facts about reading to your child will be laid out in this article.
Benefits of Reading to Your Child
Reading to your babies is one way of introducing communication to them. It is an excellent means of acquainting your child to the concepts of letters, numbers, shapes, colors, and words in a fun and engaging manner. In the long run, constant reading to your child will help them establish listening skills, enhance their memory, and build a broad vocabulary. Studies even show that children who were read to have better language skills than those who weren’t. Hence, the more you read to them, the better speakers they will be.
Further, it promotes the following areas of development:
- Emotional - How to read children's books aloud? When you read to your babies expressively, using different voices and other nonverbal expressions, you help your baby familiarize and understand feelings leading to better emotional intelligence.
- Social - The interaction that takes place as you read to your baby, such as allowing them to point and touch the book, or asking them questions, help them develop social skills. On top of it, a connection is forged between you and your baby, and the baby with the books.
- Language - Babies are great imitators, and by copying the sounds and words you say, they're able to hone their language skills.
What to Read to Your Child at Each Stage of Development
It's somewhat tricky reading to a child at such a young age, but it's a task beneficial for them. Here to guide you on how to read children's books aloud in different stages of a child's life.
0-6 Months - It’s never too early to read to a child. Reading at this age is not meant to convey ideas but merely to allow your child to familiarize your voice, enjoy your company, and be acquainted with words.
- Reading Materials - It's also a baby's nature to want to experience the book with their other senses, so you can expect them to grab and want to chew it. Don't be discouraged, though. Look for books that are made from chunky boards, soft fabric, and vinyl. It would be best if you have them sturdy during this stage.
- What to do - So, just how to read children’s book aloud to a baby who doesn’t understand? While reading, try to observe their reactions to the activity, which manifests through eye-widening, smiling, and kicking to show excitement. They may also calm down from a tantrum if previous readings have been perceived as a pleasant experience. When the baby starts to look away, cry, or show disinterest, you can take a break.
6-9 Months - At this stage, babies will now be interested in the books, will want to gaze at the pictures, and get hold of the book to close and open it.
- Reading Materials- Read to them briefly of simple tales from books with vividly colorful figures. Board books are great for this stage.
- What to do- Continue observing your baby’s reaction as you read to them. Take a break when they’re starting to arch away or feel bored. Book-biting behavior may still manifest during this stage. Play with your voice; make elaborate sounds to catch your baby's attention. Allow them to see the pages you're reading as they may already recognize some figures and shapes.
9-18 Months - Be ready to read a story or two because your toddler will already have a favorite one by this time. How to read children’s books aloud at this stage?
- Reading Materials - Read simple tales with rhymes and repetitive phrases. Use books with illustrations that are familiar to them, such as babies and animals.
- What to do - Ask your baby questions that'll elicit a reaction such as asking where particular objects are and see if they point to the board you're reading.
18–24 Months - You may now introduce lengthy tales with a more complex storyline. This is the best time to get the child to think through the stories.
- Reading Materials - You may use storybooks with paper pages, but you must oversee the child lest you'd end up with ripped pages.
- What to do - A child can get restless this stage, it’s normal for them to run away as you read. Keep on reading and try to involve them actively by asking the child to do what the characters do in the story, such as hop, jump, or say a word. This way, they can expend their energy and be continuously engaged in the story-telling. Also, read their favorite line halfway through and have them finish it.
24–36 Months - How to read children’s book aloud during this point? This is the best time to read stories with engaging, humorous plots with colorful book animations.
- Reading Materials - Kids can already handle regular books with paper pages at this age.
- What to do - They will still show interest in fictional character stories but will also display interest in nonfictional topics. You may ask action questions like, "what is the person doing?", “where is the boy going?” or, “who is the lady talking to?”
Parents can't help but talk to their babies even when they know the baby won't understand. But it's another thing to be reading to a baby. You may feel silly when reading to your infant, but experts say it helps a child develop in many aspects. You only need to be guided on how to read children’s books aloud as they transition from babyhood to a grown-up child. By reading to them at a young age, you are honing another reader in this world, and the world gains one more of a thinking person. Find out more about children's books.
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