Benefits of Reading to Children
Did you know that sharing stories, talking and singing every day can help your child’s development in many ways?
Stories, books, and reading fuel the imagination of a child. However, it is a habit that needs to be cultivated and can be done easily and successfully in the early years.
Your child should be surrounded by books at all times. A book should be easily accessible. Whether it is on the high chair while feeding the baby, at bath time, at potty-time or even while traveling. Always carry books with your baby.
How to read to your child?
Here are age wise suggestions on how you can inculcate the habit of reading in your child. Also, do not forget to read our article: When is the right time to begin reading to your child?
0-1 year: Sharing stories doesn’t necessarily mean just reading to them. You may look at books with your child, observe the pictures, flip through the pages and show your excitement about a book. This will not just ignite the curiosity of your baby but also help her accept books and reading as a normal and essential part of life. There is an amazing variety of books available for babies. There are cloth books, board books, textured books and even chewable bath books.
5 Books to read to your newborn:
For 0-6 months
For 6 – 12 months
1 – 2 years: Books should be an essential part of your baby’s bedtime routine. Always read your baby to bed. Initially, your baby may fall asleep while the book is being read. It may even seem like a lullaby activity to you but don’t get disappointed.
4 Books to read to your 1 to 2-year-olds:
2 – 4 years: By now you may safely move on to paper books. Talk to your child about taking care of books and not tearing the pages. As your baby grows your baby will get interested in the story plot and then you may have to have to put a limit to the number of books you take to bed :). It will no longer be a lullaby reading. Start dramatizing so as to build communication skills, early language development, vocabulary and confidence in your child.
4 Books to read to your 2 to 4-year-olds:
4 – 5 years: By now your baby will demand to be read to at bedtime. Some children even begin reading on their own. Always remember, never force your child to read on his own. This bedtime reading ritual is precious so continue with it for as long as your child wants you to. It is a great way to bond with your child. Don’t try and draw out a pedagogic benefit from it (remember the benefits are many). My mom still reads to me and I can read very well on my own. Don’t be in a hurry for your child to become an independent reader.
4 Books to read to your 4 to 5-year-olds:
- My Teacher is a Monster
- Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus
- A Fish Out of Water
- Kimmie Aunty Says Series
5 years & above: Start exploring various genres with your child. Make trips to book stories together, put a limit on the number of books to be purchased. (Have a book budget). Pick up chapter books, graphic novels, and longer stories. Introduce the concept of a bookmark to your child.
6 Books to read to your 5 to 7-year-olds:
- The Auto that Flew
- Geronimo Stilton Series
- A Squash and a Squeeze
- Thatha at School
- Hole Books Series by Duckbill
- Amelia Bedelia Series
So read, sing and explore the wonderful world of books and stories with your child. It is a precious habit and the most amazing thing that you will do for your child.
Rohini Vij is the founder of NutSpace Edtech Pvt Ltd. She is a trained Storyteller, Early Years Educationalist, Jolly Phonics Practitioner and Trainer. She has trained over 10,000 teachers across India in ‘The Art of Storytelling’. You can connect with Rohini on @rohinivij