via Fisher: If you’re wondering when to start reading to your baby, it’s great to to do right from the start! Here’s what to know about your child’s early development when it comes to reading, listening, and following along with stories.

You don’t have to wait until your child is talking; even from early infancy, reading to your baby begins to teach her to recognize the sounds and rhythm of language and to feel that cuddling with you and reading books is comforting and fun. Reading is also a great way for fathers, grandparents, and older siblings to bond with the baby. Studies show that children who are routinely read to from a young age develop improved language skills and increased interest in reading, which helps improve their readiness for preschool and kindergarten. Try to make reading part of your daily routine with your baby—for example, at bedtime. You can start out reading for a few minutes at a time, and extend to longer reading sessions as your child grows older and develops a longer attention span. Find a comfortable place to read and turn off other distractions such as the television or radio. Make the story come alive by using different voices for different characters, and even acting out parts of the story.

Children can be interested in different types of books depending on their age, development, temperament, and life experiences. Babies like books with interesting things to look at and touch; toddlers also like books that make noises and have fold-out sections they can lift to reveal hidden surprises; and preschoolers appreciate books with more elaborate pictures, rhymes, funny words, and interesting stories. Children may be enthralled with books about animals, trucks, princesses, baseball players, or children like themselves. Try out different books with your child to see what he enjoys. There are the time-honored favorites like Dr. Seuss’s Cat in the Hat series as well as many new books. Check out your local library, bookstores, and friends’ bookshelves.

Here are some tips for reading to your child:

Birth to 1 year:

• In the early months, hold your baby close and read, talk and sing to her.

• By 3-6 months of age, your baby will start to enjoy looking at mirrors and pictures of faces, shapes, colors. She will begin to make sounds, reach out and touch the pictures. Choose books with interesting pictures and textures.

• By 6-12 months of age, your baby will sit in your lap, look at the pictures, touch the book, and put the book in her mouth. Use plastic and cardboard books, and point to and name the pictures for your baby.

1-2 years:

• From 12-18 months of age, your baby might enjoy choosing the book from the shelf, sitting and holding the book, and turning the pages. Follow your child’s interest in reading for as long as the book holds his attention. Ask “Where’s the doggie?” and let your child point to it. Ask “What does the doggie say?” and let your child respond.

• From 18-24 months of age, your child might begin to name familiar pictures and fill in words in familiar stories. She might even “read” to her dolls or stuffed animals and recite parts of stories. When you read, stop to ask your child, “What’s that?” and give your child time to answer.

2-3 years:

• Your child will be able to handle books with paper pages. She understands how the pictures go with the story, and may look for her favorite books and favorite pictures. Be prepared to read the same book over and over. Ask her questions about what’s happening in the book, and relate the story to her own experiences, “That truck looks just like the garbage truck that comes to our house!” Try dropping some words from the end of a rhyme and let her fill in the missing word.

3 years and up:

• Your child will be able to turn pages one at a time. He can listen to longer stories and retell familiar stories in his own words. He will also start to recognize letters and numbers. Ask him questions, “How many balls are there? Let’s count them!” “What’s happening now? What’s going to happen?” Look for books that teach children helpful lessons for making friends, going to school, etc. Encourage him to tell, draw and write his own stories.

Happy Children’s Book Day!

Studies after studies have shown that reading to your kids will equip them with substantial advantage over the other kids. It was found that kids who read are better equipped with a wider vocabulary and become better readers themselves.

Reading for kids is also one of the simplest way to increase your kids’ IQ. If you are keen to help develop your kids’ intelligence, encouraging your kids to read is something that you should be looking at.

Always bear in mind that parents play a significant role in instilling the love of reading in their kids.

On this Children’s Book Day, try encouraging your kids to read with the following tips!

Via Reading Rockets: Tips for Encouraging Kids to Read

We asked the parents and teachers who frequent our web site for their ideas about how to encourage kids, especially those who aren’t excited about books, to do more reading. Thanks to all you tip-sters out there, we received tons of advice, which we’ve summarized in the seven tips below.

1.”Read me a story!”

Nearly every suggestion sent in by our tip-sters had this message at its core. Whether snuggled under the covers with peanut-butter sandwiches, or following along with a book on tape while on a road trip, reading together is a powerful tool in motivating your child to read.

2. Beyond books

Our tip-sters were quick to point out that reading material comes in many different shapes and sizes, some of which may be more accessible to a new reader. Video games, magazines, and comic books all provide opportunities for reading practice. Other suggestions for sneaking under a wary child’s reading radar include playing board games that involve written instructions, corresponding with a pen pal, and turning on the closed captioning on your television. To illustrate the practical side of reading, have your child help you with the grocery list, or leave reminder notes for your child to discover throughout the day.

3. Keep it fun, for everyone

Another message that came through loud and clear was that if kids are going to enjoy reading, the experience has to be enjoyable. As you read with your children, keep them involved by asking questions about the story, and let them fill in the blanks. You can also create activities related to the stories you’re reading. In one household, reading Little House on the Prairie prompted lively games of “wagon-train” and discussions about life on the frontier. Another family likes to create mini-plays, acting out the stories they read. While her grandson “helps” in the garden, one grandmother spells words for him to write out using a muddy stick. Once the word is complete, the two of them sound it out together, wipe the word away, then move onto the next. This reading game keeps her grandson occupied for hours.

4. “Look at what I did!”

Another successful approach to motivating your child is to use some sort of visible record of achievement. A chart or graph that marks the number of books a child has read gives him or her a sense of accomplishment. To spice it up a bit, choose a theme that goes along with your child’s interests. One example would be a Reading Olympics, where the child goes for the gold by reading a certain number of books.

A similar method can be used to help expose your child to the wide variety of genres available for exploration. Create a Bingo card or Passport where each space can be filled in by reading a mystery book, or a piece of non-fiction, to give a few examples. Once the goal has been reached, reward your child with something to celebrate his or her special achievement. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate – one-on-one time with a parent or teacher, or an ice cream cone are suggestions from our tip-sters – just something that lets your child know how proud you are of his or her accomplishment.

5. “I want that one!”

Reading should be a choice, not a chore. Make sure there are a variety of books, magazines, and other materials available for your child to choose from, wherever your child may be. Let your child’s interests guide his or her reading choices. While it’s fine to make suggestions, don’t force your conceptions of what your child should be reading onto your child. And, keep an eye on the reading level of the books your children choose. Let them stretch to the best of their ability, but be ready to help if they get discouraged.

6. Something to talk about

Reading doesn’t have to stop when you put the book down. Talk to your child about books you’ve read and books you think he or she might enjoy. Point out similarities between everyday events and stories you have recently read. If your child has a favorite author, help your child write him or her a letter. For a more structured discussion, consider joining, or starting, a parent/child book club.

7. Hey, kids! What time is it?

Regardless of how motivated your child is, he or she will not read if there isn’t any time to do so. Carve time out of the busy day and dedicate it to reading, both together and on your own. By setting aside specific times, rather than trying to squeeze it in between soccer and dance lessons, you send the message that reading is an important activity, and something your child will enjoy.

MAma speaks:

“I love reading. My kids on the other hand, just have so much energy to burn. The take home from this is to be consistent, allocate 20 mins daily reading to them so that it eventually turns into a habit.”

Besides keeping children safe and healthy, parents should also practice reading to their kids.

The American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP) is encouraging parents to improve their kids’ literacy by beginning to read to their children starting from a young age. Research has revealed that early reading with children actually helps them in learning how to speak, engage, bond with their parents and get into a reading habit in their early years by themselves. It also helps when they are reading with kids who already know how to read, and the knowledge gathered from reading can help make them feel closer to their caretakers as they become more emphathetic, and comprehend the world around them better as well.

Furthermore, the stories kids hear when they’re young are the ones that they keep in mind the most. As such, reading together with their mom and dad allows them to have a lot of warm and unforgettable family memories. It has also been proven that reading to kids can help in strengthening the bond between parents and their kids, resulting in better relationships in the long run.

You have already made up your mind and decided that you would like to read more to your kids, but thinking that they mightn’t sit still and listen? Then check out this video now for top tips on how you can read to your active kids more effectively!

Via The Straits Times: Why kids should be read to – even if they can read on their own

Many of us will be able to recall the enjoyment of shared reading: being read to and sharing reading with our parents. However, my research has found that of the 997 Year 4 and Year 6 respondents (equivalent to upper primary in Singapore) at 24 schools which took part in last year’s Western Australian Study in Children’s Book Reading, nearly three-fifths reported that they were not being read to at home.

A sample of these children also participated in interviews where I asked them how they felt about shared reading. While a few children did not mind no longer being read to, others were disappointed when it stopped.

For example, when I asked Jason about his experience of being read to by his parents, he explained: “…they kind of stopped when I knew how to read. I knew how to read, but I just still liked my mum reading it to me.”

His experience is common, with other recent research suggesting that more than one-third of Australian respondents aged six to 11 whose parents had stopped reading to them wanted it to continue.

But why is it so important for us to keep reading with our children for as long as possible?

Research has typically found that shared reading experiences are highly beneficial for young people. Benefits of shared reading include facilitating enriched language exposure, fostering the development of listening skills, spelling, reading comprehension and vocabulary, and establishing essential foundational literacy skills. They are also valued as a shared social opportunity between parents and their children to foster positive attitudes towards reading.

When we read aloud to children, it is also beneficial for their cognitive development, with parent-child reading activating brain areas related to narrative comprehension and mental imagery. While most of the research in this area focuses on young children, this does not mean that these benefits somehow disappear as children age.

As young people’s attitudes towards reading reflect their experiences of reading at home and at school in childhood and beyond, providing an enjoyable shared reading experience at home can help to turn children into lifelong readers.

However, not all shared reading experiences are enjoyable. Some children described having poor quality experiences of being read to, and children did not typically enjoy reading to distracted or overly critical parents.

In some cases, parents attempted to outsource this responsibility to older siblings, with mixed results.

While many children really enjoyed the social aspects of reading and being read to as valuable time with their parents, they also felt that they learnt from these experiences. For example, listening was felt to provide an opportunity to extend vocabulary and improve pronunciation.

Gina recalled the advantage she lost when her parents stopped reading to her: “When they did read to me when I was younger, I learnt the words; I would like to learn more words in the bigger books and know what they are so I could talk more about them.”

Similarly, Craig explained how being read to enabled his academic advantage in literacy, as “they were teaching me how to say more words”, and “that’s why I’m ahead of everyone in spelling and reading and English”. When this stopped, “just because my mum thought I was smart enough to read on my own and started to read chapter books”, Craig was disappointed.

In addition, some children were terrified of reading aloud in class, and this fear could potentially be alleviated through more opportunities to practise at home.

Hayden’s anxiety around reading aloud at school related to his lack of confidence, and his tendency to compare his skills with those of his peers. He described himself as “always standing up there shivering, my hands are shivering, I just don’t want to read, so I just start reading. And I sound pretty weird”. No one read with him at home, so he had limited opportunity to build his confidence and skills.

This research suggests that we should not stop reading with our children just because they have learnt to read independently.

We should keep reading with our children until they no longer wish to share reading with us, ensuring these experiences are enjoyable as they can influence children’s future attitudes towards reading, as well as building their confidence and competence as readers. It is worth the effort to find time to share this experience with our children in the early years and beyond.