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How to cultivate a love of reading in very young children

As parents/caregivers/educators & communities, we are responsible for influencing how very young babes build early reading skills. We have a responsibility to help these youngsters by establishing & cultivating a love of reading for them. Here are some ways to support during reading times.

+ Let the toddler choose reading material (books, magazines, comics, zines, even books without text and only illustrations, chapbooks, etc. Even if it’s something that they don’t understand. If it sparks their interest, they’ll be motivated to listen.

+ Use animated voices, different pitches & inflections while reading. Doing so keeps babes engaged with material, plus it’s so entertaining & fun!

+ For material with text, it isn’t enough to just read the words on the pages. Point to characters, items in books, etc. Also, be sure to describe what you see, what the characters may be saying or even feeling.

+ Ask questions about what the child may be seeing coming across the page. You may want to ask what they think a character may be doing, feeling, or observing. And wait on their response. Acknowledge & validate gibberish and vocalizations. This will help build a young child’s conversational skills, confidence and language.

+ When the toddler has lost interest in reading, let them happily move on to the next activity. We have to remember that their attention spans are short. Other things may have caught their eye or they have a new idea all of a sudden. Don’t feel bad if they walk away right in the middle of you reading a good book. Try not to make them finish. Remember we are hoping to build a positive relationship with reading. Let children have autonomy over their own time.

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