From: Julie Hassell, Team Leader in Early Years room.

Tip:  Reading is a wonderful experience for your child

In the news this week new research shows that the number of pre-school children being read to daily at home has fallen by a fifth since 2013. This is something that made me quite shocked and saddened. I feel that reading is such a huge part of growing up for a child and something I do hope continues. Here at First Steps, we spend lots of time with the children reading through books, sharing stories and we even have visits from authors to engage all our children further.

With World Book Day being celebrated in March, I thought what better time to share some tips on making reading at home even more fun for your child.

Read together every day

If you do have time to read to your child every day – make this time memorable with lots of cuddles and laughter.

Give everything a name

Build your child’s vocabulary by talking about interesting words and objects. For example, “Look at that airplane! Those are the wings of the plane. Why do you think they are called wings?” etc.

Say how much you enjoy reading

Tell your child how much you enjoy reading with him or her. Talk about “story time” as the favourite part of your day. This will encourage them to feel the same.

Read with fun in your voice

Read to your child with humour and expression. Use different voices. Let the never-seen actress or actor loose.

Know when to stop

Put the book away for a while if your child loses interest or is having trouble paying attention. Try not to make reading time a battle – it needs to remain fun.

Be interactive

Discuss what’s happening in the book, point out things on the page, and ask questions. Children’s attention spans are short – so the more you engage, the longer you are likely to keep them interested.

Read it again and again

Go ahead and read your child’s favourite book for the 100th time! I know it can be tiresome, but if they enjoy it then celebrate that love for that certain book with them.

Talk about writing, too

Mention to your child how we read from left to right and how words are separated by spaces. Even from a young age, it is great to engage with your child about writing as well as reading whenever you can.

Point out print everywhere

Talk about the written words you see in the world around you. Ask your child to find a new word on each outing. This will again help them build knowledge, as well as other things to talk about when reading stories.

Ask the team at First Steps for inspiration

Please do ask the team at First Steps about any books or stories that are age appropriate for your child if you are struggling with which books to go for, or you need to breathe life back into your collection.