Help your toddler love books

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1.  Don’t let your child’s first introduction to reading be in Grade One.  Large class sizes, the lack of intimacy and the pressure to keep up could make it stressful.

2.  From the age of 1, provide plenty of time and opportunity for storybook reading.  Grannies, nannies and older siblings can all be encouraged to read to your child.

3.  Cut down on meaningless television viewing.  Instead invest in some good DVDs which will help your child discover the sounds of the alphabet. Jolly Phonics has a DVD which you can introduce to your child as early as three as the content is slow and repetitive.  If they like Tellytubbies they will love this.

4.  Grow a home library of books starting with simple one-word-one-picture books which they will easily memorise.  Don’t forget non-fiction books with 1 or 2 short sentences per picture.  An alphabet book with lots of pictures for each sound and of course a few Dr Seuss are also must-haves. All that rhyming is great for their auditory skills.

5.  Books that your 2-year-old has had read to them provide the best ‘beginning to read alone’ books. They are familiar and give easy picture clues to the words. So don’t be in a hurry to give them away just yet.

6.  A set of magnetic lower case letters for the fridge is a wonderful way of introducing word building skills while you are busy in the kitchen.  From the age of 4 they will love matching all the ‘d’s together and trying to find the letter which their name begins with.

7.  A car journey is the best time to play games which develop their ear for sounds in words.
•    I spy something beginning with r
•    How many claps (syllables) in Toyota, garden, Peter, dog.
•    I can see a tr –ee.  What am I saying?
•    What sound is at the END of ‘dog’

8.  Keep reading to your child.  Read simple books and lengthy storybooks. This helps them develop listening skills plus they will find it easy to settle down and attend in a class room situation.

9.  Encourage them to choose their own books.  Praise them for it. You will be delighted to find out more about your children by the way they respond to stories.  Books help develop a sense of humour, empathy, feed the imagination and of course expand their knowledge.

Maurita Glynn Weissenberg is the director of the Shine Centre

Do you read to your baby or toddler?

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