Tips for Reading with your child
Written by Ellie Jones, Speech Pathologist, Southern Highlands Speech Pathology
“The more that you read the more things you will know, the more that you learn, the more places you will go” – Dr Seuss.
Many parents appreciate how important reading books with their child is. It is such an important activity for fostering a lifelong relationship between your child and the printed word. Reading and sharing stories helps your child develop early literacy and language skills, spark imagination, stimulate curiosity, understand life events and associated emotions, and promote bonding to ultimately strengthen your relationship.
Books are a powerful and engaging way for you and your child to go on magical adventures together. So, open up a whole new world with your child by adopting these 5 simple tips to make reading fun at home.
1. Make it FUN and choose engaging books!
Use sound effects, pauses and suspense within a variety of books and book types of high interest for your child. We love using books with touch and feel, music, flaps, favourite characters, good rhythm and repetition. Try out funny noises and sounds – play and have fun with your child!
2. Read frequently and when your child is engaged
3. Use the C.A.R strategy – Comment, Ask and Respond.
– Comment, wait 5 seconds to see if your child makes their own comment.
– Ask a Question, wait 5 seconds to see if your child answers the question.
– Respond, by answering the question.
Remember, instead of asking endless questions about what is happening in the book, make comments (“look at that”, “I see a blue bird flying”).
Don’t just focus on labelling pictures you see, but also draw your child’s attention to action words (“flying”), describing words (“blue”) and location words (“on top”) in the story as well!
4. Relate events in the book to your child’s personal experiences
For example, “remember when we went on the big aeroplane to visit your Grandma?”.
5. Focus on the interaction and give your child your undivided attention
Use facial expressions, eye contact and gesture to animate your face and body, ensuring your child is looking at you as well as the book being read. Furthermore, put away your phone and turn off the TV, to find a quiet place to read so your child can hear your voice.
Keep on practicing these tips to establish a natural interaction that both you and your child enjoys during story time. Don’t forget you can borrow children’s books FOR FREE from your local library!