Encouraging a love of books in our children – being a bit of a bookworm myself, this is a subject close to my heart! Immersing yourself in a story is so freeing, and being able to read is a valuable gift to have. It is so beneficial to our mental and cognitive health. So here is a little guide to encouraging a love of books in your children. Hopefully, they will turn into little bookworms just like yourself!
Expose them to books from day one.
Even newborns can appreciate story time. They love to hear the sound of your voice, and are learning the patterns of speech while feeling connected to you. They can listen to the rustling of pages, watch the contrast of colours and, as they grow, start to make sense of the pictures in front of them. For many families, story time is an important daily routine. I love reading to my boys at bedtime. I have my favourite books to read and I especially love the snuggles!
Let them see you reading.
I know from experience that it can be hard – ok, impossible! – to find the time to pick up a book when you have young children. If you can’t find time to read these days, show your little bookworms that you have your own books that you are interested in. Let them see your bookshelf packed with whatever you enjoy, whether they are magazines, cookbooks, graphic novels. Talk to your kids about yours and their favourite stories.
There is no ‘right’ way to enjoy a book.
This applies especially to really little ones. My baby loves a good chomp on the corner of a book! When my older son was littler, he often wanted me to read the same page over and over, or go through the book backwards, or choose random pages to return to again and again. He was enjoying the experience of story time, and there was no way I was going to discourage him by forcing him to go through the book in the ‘correct’ way.
Be gentle when they are learning to read.
It’s difficult! As a reception teacher, I often had well-meaning parents complain that their child refused to read a whole book each evening (a whole book in this case was about 8 pages with 2 lines of text each). I always said that the child should read as much as they want to – even if it’s just a sentence! – and if takes more than some gentle encouragement to get them to read more, then just leave it. Let them go at their own pace. They are building their confidence at a really difficult skill, and the last thing we want to do is have them associate reading with any negative feelings. Lots of praise and encouragement does the trick.
I hope this helps you toward building that lovely relationship between your child and books! At Little Learners, we provide our very own books to promote reading and writing at a young age with the help of our colourful characters. Be sure to show your little bookworms!
Do you have any other tips? What are your favourite stories to read with your little bookworms? Let us know in the comments!