One of the best ways to develop your child’s literacy skills is to begin reading to him at birth… and earlier! Even though your child might not understand the words, their developing brain begins processing language before they are even born. Studies show that babies can learn their first lullabies in the womb.
But once your child is born, it is important for you to read regularly to her to help build her vocabulary and teach her the basics of language such as sentence structure, grammar, and more. It doesn’t matter what language you read to your baby in because once they learn the basic literacy skills in one language, they can transfer those to a second one.
The way you read to your child can enhance his learning and boost his literacy skills. Here are five thing you can do to maximize your reading time together.
Sit together in a comfortable spot.
If it is possible to create a special reading area in your home, do it! But remember, reading can take place any time and anywhere. Try to choose somewhere comfortable for both of you like the couch or a cozy chair. This lessens outside distractions and makes it easier for you both to focus on the story and the act of reading.
Read with emotion.
A great storyteller captures the mood of the story with his voice, so be animated as you read. Use different voices for different characters. Let your voice rise and fall as the story moves through exciting moments. Pause now and then to increase the suspense and make your child wonder what will happen next.
Point to the words.
Help your child learn to associate sounds with specific letters or groups of letters. By the time he starts reading, he will already recognize common words such as “the,” “an,” “he,” “she,” and many others. Pointing to words as you read will also show your child basic grammar rules, such as using a capital at the beginning of a sentence and ending it with a punctuation mark.
Look at the illustrations.
Most children’s books come with beautifull illustrations. The job of the illustrator is to accentuate the story and supplement it with additional details that the author may not include. The images may even help the reader to guess what is going to happen next. Before you turn the page, look at the illustrations together and point out details that may not have been included in the written story.
Start off by looking at the cover of the book and ask your child what she thinks the story will be about. As you read, ask her questions about the characters, how she thinks they must feel, and what she thinks is going to happen next. By asking questions, you make your child an active reader and not just an observer. You’ll also be boosting her reading comprehensions skills.