In busy family lives, the opportunity to read to your child is a wonderful way for you to spend time together. You open the pages of a story and at the same time, open up a world of new ideas. It’s important to read to our children at any age, but more than that, is the importance of reading with our children.
Reading with children is quite different to reading to our children.
It involves having a conversation about the book, talking about the pictures, asking questions, making comments and helping our children understand the meaning of the story by slowing down and discussing what interests them. So often we can catch ourselves just reading a book from beginning to end (as quickly as we can) and forgetting to stop, pause and give children time to comment or respond to us in their own way. This is especially important for very young children.
You are always better off reading less of the book and truly interacting with your child than finishing the whole book in a race to the finish.
Research tells us that shared reading has a greater impact on children’s oral language skills when compared to traditional reading. It’s also a good idea to sit next to your child so they can see you and the book as you read and talk about the story together.
So next time you pick up a book with your child or they bring a book to you, get comfortable in a spot where you can see them, they can see you and start the story – see where it leads you, together.