You may know a child who picks the same book over and over again. They choose the same book because they represented comfort and relaxation time, often at night before bed. At first they are read to a lot, and then they go on to making up their own versions of the stories. Your wishes and goals as parents are to instill in them the same love of reading that you had as a child, or wanted, and to create a family with a real love for books. Being in a relaxed familiar place when reading to a small child and reading picture books help to associate reading with pleasure. One of the major parts of raising active readers is that their reading time is enjoyable. There is nothing like observing a child's joy when reading a book. Picture books introduce the world of words both orally and visually.
Reading out loud to our children helps them distinguish that speech is made up of different individual sounds and that those sounds have meaning. When reading to a small child point out all of the colours, shapes, objects, especially the main objects or hidden ones. Not only do the pictures help in labelling these patterns but the combination of pictures and stories working together share that stories are told both in pictures and words. Encourage them to find objects and soon they will do this for themselves. Often times when a child starts telling their own stories they’ll draw the picture first and then add words to it later. As a child is learning their language from birth, picture books help in teaching the sounds of words and patterns of speech. As our children develop and grow, reading to them develops the neuro-pathways in their brains.
When reading picture books, the child has the actual task of holding the book. Touching and feeling it, enjoying the pages and learning to turn the pages carefully. When turning the page, our children are invited to have a direct interaction with the story by moving onto the next part.When reading, if you run your fingers under the words, this helps teach reading from left to right and how word flow on the page. While we point to the words in a picture book it also helps train the eyes to follow the words. How often do we see a small child holding a book, pointing to the words as they start out on the path of going through these actions, and learning to read, even before actually reading words. Though they are mimicking us, it is an important pattern to develop to be able to read independently later on.
Books open up imagined worlds to our children and let us explore them together. Books also teach how we interact with each other and the world around us, whether imaginary or real. Children are often seen and you will notice how they will play through their imagination, and re-create in their own little world what was visited in the book that was recently looked at together, then by themselves. Children live in their imaginations first and then come to real situations. The more we can inspire imaginative play the more likely they are to develop problem solving skills for a variety of situations. Get familiar with this routine they will ask for night after night, having that moment of reading time everyday gives your child or children something to look forward to. It’s that special time you share together. During our reading time, all interference's are turned off or put away. We have a special place our family gathers to read every day. My children often ask me to read the same book over and over again. Though we as parents may get tired of the same story, by reading the same book multiple times helps to aid their memories. These times of snuggling down with a good book are planting the seeds to a love of lifelong reading. Teach them and they will remember, and they will learn.
Karen E Hall Founder of Kid Literature Facebook
Kid Literature on Twitterland https://twitter.com/KidLiterature