Reading aloud to your child can be one of your best parenting experiences! I hope that you and your child create many loving memories as you explore children's books together.
Don't wait until you think your child is "old enough" to be read to.
You both can enjoy this experience sooner than you think--well before
your child's first birthday.
Make reading aloud a daily habit! It's a wonderful routine to help your
child prepare for bedtime. Like all habits, this one may take a while
to get established, but hang in there until it's a daily (or nightly)
Try to select an enjoyable core of books your child can choose from.
Do they have bright, colorful pictures? Does the language flow in an
enjoyable way as you read it, or does it sound unnatural and halting?
Are the stories about topics your child might be interested in?
Remember to keep it fun! Try to allow your child to select the books to
be read. Yes, it's hard to read a book for the umpteenth time (We've
been there!) but your child will gain a lot from these repeated
readings--both emotionally and in preparation for his or her own reading
Previewing books with your children is part of the fun! Look at the
pictures and talk about them. As you chat about the pictures, you
prepare your children to enjoy the book, and you can explain some words
or names they will hear when you begin reading.
This is an experience that you can really "get into." Roar like a lion,
squeak like a mouse, and read your stories with great feeling!
You'll want to be physically close to your child as you share books
together. One of the best parts about reading aloud is having your
child sit on your lap, or snuggled up to you.
An enjoyable alternative to reading aloud can be the stories that you
tell yourself! Your children will enjoy the tall tales you make up, or
the family stories that you remember. But be sure to read books or tell a
story EVERY DAY!
Your children will probably want you to continue reading to them long
after they are capable of doing it independently--because reading aloud
isn't just about reading. It's a warm, loving experience that I hope
that you'll continue for as long as your child desires.