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Reading with your child is a great way to spend quality time. Reading is an important activity to foster language skills and help your child learn new information. Long before a child can speak, an infant is learning the melodies and sounds of language. They are learning to understand words and pair pictures of objects with the name of the object. In addition to language skills, reading with your child helps improve their attention and builds curiosity. We want children of all ages to hear ‘adult, complex sentences’ so alternate reading a book as you typically would (reading all the written words) with the tips described below.
Infants – 2 year olds: point to the pictures and emphasize the name of each picture (one word at a time). Your intonation and melody plays an important role in your child’s attention to the book at this age.
2-3 year olds – read the story as written but ask questions along the way to ensure that your child understands what is happening in the story. This also allows them to be active “readers”
3-4 year olds – ask your child to tell you about the pictures/predict the story first. Then read the words on the page. This is a great way to help foster their story-telling abilities.
4-5 year olds – at this age children begin to gain interest in the letters of the alphabet and the sounds they make. Point to some of the words as you read to support this interest. At the end of a book, you and your child can make up a different ending OR try and add to the story.
5-6 year olds – Your child will begin to read at this age, generally by memorization of sight words. Keep a running list of the words that your child successfully recognizes. They will feel great pride as the list grows longer and longer.