What to do with this activity?
You can share books with your baby as soon as they can sit on your knee. Just look at a simple book together, say the words out loud, and talk about the pictures. Your baby won't understand everything, but they will love sitting on your lap and listening to you. Watch this fantastic 3 minute video from the Fingal Libraries Early Years Strategy to show you how much babies love sharing books. It will also give you some useful tips. And here's author Mem Fox telling you why reading aloud in the first four months of a baby's life makes a difference (the video is nearly 5 minutes long).
If you have not been reading to your baby much up to now, think about what part of the day or evening would suit you to read to them. It could be at bedtime, on the bus, in the morning. Find time to sit together and share books sometime during the day. Five or ten minutes every day, or as often as you can do it, will bring so many benefits to your baby.
It’s good to share favourite books again and again. Repetition helps children to understand and remember the words they hear.
Why am I doing this?
Sharing stories play an important role in a child’s development. They not only help children learn language and reading skills but they also have an emotional quality which can help children make sense of their feelings. Reading to babies and young children, and giving them time to respond, will help make the most of this opportunity. Recognising shapes will help your child to learn to read later on.
How can I do more?
The most important thing is that reading is fun and enjoyable for both of you – five minutes can be enough. Just turn off the TV and find a quiet place so there are no distractions. And remember stories are not just found in books, it’s just as good to tell your child short, simple stories you know.
Remember, you’re not teaching your child to read. You learn to talk a long time before you learn to read, and sharing stories and giving your child time to respond is a wonderful way to help your child’s language development.
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