By Carla MacRitchie, Education Leader and Mum of Two
Memories last a lifetime
Cuddled up close on my Mum’s lap, wrapped up safe in loving arms, feeling connected and supported, book in hand, the words she spoke enticed me. I shifted my gaze from page to page, then looked up at my Mum with a smile, watching with intrigue as she narrated the story.
Early reading experiences play a key role in developing and creating a love of reading. Whether it be curled up on a loved one’s lap, snuggled in bed cosy and warm, or ‘Going on a Bear Hunt’ with a favourite Teacher, early reading experiences really set the scene. A love of reading develops through connection, relationships and being shown from an early age the value and importance of literature.
It’s never too early to start
It’s an exciting time awaiting the birth of a precious baby. Reading to your unborn child can be a beautiful way for Mum or Dad, or anyone close to bond. Listening to a soothing voice, creating familiarity and sharing favourite stories can create wonderful moments.
Creating a reading ritual and making it part of a family routine can happen from a very early age. From reading in utero, to reading to newborns, it is never too early to start. Did you know that from around 16-18 weeks in utero, your little one hears their very first sounds. By 24 weeks, those little ears are rapidly developing and babies have been shown to turn their heads in response to voices and noises. What a beautiful time to connect with your child and create that special bond, creating a love of reading.
Creating a Love of Reading with Infants
Reading with infants is an opportunity to have a wonderful language rich interaction. Through reading, infants learn the role that sounds, words and language play. Reading and storytelling with infants and children promotes brain development and supports child development in many ways. Infants can
- Learn to value and love reading and stories
- Observe, learn about and mimic facial expressions and mouth movements
- Learn about turn taking in conversations
- Learn about emotions and expression
- Learn about the value of stories, through role modelled reading
- Learn about their own language, culture and heritage
- Experience favourite family stories and develop a repertoire of stories
Creating a Love of Reading with Young Children
“Just one more, please.” he begged. “Please just one more story?” he insisted.
This is a familiar request at my house, each evening before bedtime. Is it because I am such a wonderful storyteller? Or is it because, that one more story buys my son some more time to cuddle up close and share time together. I would like to hope both. When children develop a love of reading from an early age, that evening reading ritual becomes so important. It doesn’t always have to be about the story. Reading provides wonderful opportunities for interaction, conversation and language. Let your child lead the way, follow their interest and see where they are drawn too. Reading with young children supports child development in many ways.
- get to know sounds, words and experiment with language
- learn to value books and stories
- learn about the parts of a book, and how to handle books and their value
- develop a love of stories and familiar texts
- learn about oral language, rhythm and rhyme, repetition and language properties
- learn different genres of stories, stories that capture their imagination, stories that they can connect with, books that encourage questioning and investigation
- share stories that can support discussions about emotion and experiences
You can read here, you can read there, you can read anywhere!
Creating a love of reading is a beautiful gift to give a child. It’s a gift that will not only support them in their development, but one that if nurtured will endure and that they can share with others.
Here are a few stories that come recommended that you might like to share
- What If We Were All the Same!– by C.M. Harris
An inspirational and warm celebration of the differences in all living things
- Pink is for Boys– by Rob Pearlman
- Pig the Pug- by Aaron Blabey- A hilarious book series about a cheeky little Pug and his friend Trevor, and their adventures.