When does the magic of reading really happen?
Parents are often blown away by the leaps and bounds children can make when they are learning to read. What is not well understood is that the foundations are laid well before this time. All the little language and shared reading interactions add up, and it is these nurturing informal learning experiences that babies and toddlers share with parents, carers and family that builds healthy brain development from birth.
In the first five years of life, and most dramatically in the first few years, your child’s brain is developing at its fastest – and believe it or not, tender moments spent with you when they’re mouthing the corner of a board book or gazing at a colourful picture book all count towards life’s big learning challenges that come later on when our educators build on these early experiences.
If you’re keen to know more, popular children’s author Mem Fox’s Reading Magic is one of many books on the topic. Check for a copy of this book or borrow some books today to share with your children from your local library.
What can you do?
The active ingredient for helping your baby thrive is you.
- Everyday activities are the best way for your baby to learn. Point out and talk about what your baby can see or hear during the day.
- Share stories with your baby every day. Read slowly. It’s OK to skip pages or just talk in your own words about the pictures.
- The best toy for a baby is you. Let your baby see your face. Crouch down, lift up or sit next to your baby when talking, sharing stories and playing.
- Babies need time to express themselves. Pause to give your baby time to communicate, then respond to your baby’s sounds and actions.
- Talk to your local library staff about great books specifically for the development stage of your baby.
Toddlers and Preschoolers
- Toddlers and preschoolers learn best from talking, playing, and singing with us. Best of all, this can happen any place and any time.
- Talk about what you’re doing, what you can see, and what interests your child.
- Share or tell stories that interest your child. Repeat favourites again and again.
- If you come across an unfamiliar word, don’t substitute or skip it. Instead, show your child a picture, the real object, or an action that lets the child know what the word means.
- Point out any letters or words you see. Talk about street signs, posters or labels when shopping, and show children recipes and instructions as you follow them together.
- Visit your local Iibrary and enjoy a free Story Time session.