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Make reading enjoyable from an early age

Reading to your child as early as possible, even when they’re still a baby – encourages an interest in books and helps their language development. Books also help children to develop creative thinking and improve their listening skills. These are all milestones that will be important for them when they reach school age.

Here’s how to nurture their interest in and love for books

1. Show them you love books too

Children learn from their parents’ behaviour, so if they see you reading books and magazines, they are more likely to follow your lead. Buy story books if you can, borrow from friends and family, or become a member of a public library that has children’s books as well as books for adults. You can even download some stories from the internet. Once your child is able to choose their own books, let them. They will then be excited to read ‘their’ book with you.

2. Read anything and everything

The world around us is filled with words to read out loud. Speak to your child while you shop or the two of you are outdoors. Read out everyday objects like stop signs, the names of stores and supermarkets where you shop and even the brand names of their favourite treats. This will encourage them to want to recognise words and read out loud.

3. Make up stories

Reading isn’t only just about physical books. An essential part of reading is hearing and understanding as well as learning new words. You can create stories based on real-life events like a trip to the mall, or make up a story – avoid scary ones though! Just remember to tell stories in the same order as a story book with a beginning, middle and ending.

4. Let them help you to read

Allow them to hold the book and turn the pages, so they learn and understand how a book works. Pause and ask follow-up questions like ‘what did the rabbit do?; why did the rabbit do that?; and ‘what do you think is going to happen next?’. This builds up excitement and encourages creativity and participation. Always praise them when they come up with an answer, whether it’s right or wrong.

Read more about fun games that stimulate your toddler’s brain.

Image: Getty/Gallo

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