Early Learning News | Reading togetherdeveloper
In the Early Years, it is crucially important to read with your children each and every day for at least 20 minutes. Spending quality time reading with a loved one supports children’s brain development and early literacy skills.
When reading together, children are exploring a range of communication skills. They are actively developing their understanding of sounds, words and how language works. Reading together also helps children to practice their listening and comprehension skills whilst they build their knowledge about the world around them. Reading a variety of books allows children to develop their creative thinking skills as they begin to understand the difference between ‘real’ and ‘make-believe’.
Thinking about reading over the span of the year allows us to see the difference that 20 minutes a day can make.
Tips to make reading with your child successful:
- Allow your child to choose the books that they would like to read together (even if it means that you read the same book for 10 days in a row).
- Be 100% present with your child when reading together, this sends the message to your child that reading, and literacy is important and valued (this includes turning off the tv and popping your mobile phone down)
- When possible, choose a quiet environment to read in where children can really focus on the story and conversation without distractions
- Form a routine around reading together. This helps to make sure that reading together happens every day whilst also helping your child to predict what will happen in their day. Perhaps this is the special time together before bedtime, or perhaps the first 20 minutes when you get home from school
- Encourage positive reading behaviours, such as holding the book the right way up, turning the pages one at a time and taking care of books.
- Read somewhere that is comfortable and allows you to snuggle up together and enjoy a cuddle while reading.
Reading together is more than just the physical book and literacy. It is an opportunity for children to feel loved, valued and safe as they strengthen their emotional connection with you. This is an everyday opportunity to bond with your child. We suggest sitting with your child on your lap with your arms around them, holding the book in front of you both or sitting with your child tucked under your arm next to you as they snuggle in for a story.
There are a few things that you can do to help extend your child while reading together, such as:
- Talking about the pictures together. Pictures in stories give us clues about what might happen next in the story. Encourage your child to make predictions about the story and to describe what is happening by looking at the pictures.
- Make reading engaging by giving different characters different voices and personalities – these models different communication skills.
- Talk about the form of the book (notice the front cover, back cover, the spine).
- Talk about the role of the author and illustrator. Perhaps your child enjoys reading books by the same author or illustrator. Can you notice things that are similar between books written by the same author?
- Spend time after reading talking about what happened in the story (we call this re-telling a story). Talk with your child about what happened in the beginning, middle and end of the story.
- Encourage your child to be a balanced reader by having a variety of different books available to read together. You can borrow lovely picture books from your local library. Your son can also borrow books each week from the school library (please make sure he has returned any borrowed books each week).
Sarah Clay | Early Years Coordinator