Monday, June 15, 2015

15 Fun Ways to Read with your Small Child

Reading with kids is what I do several times a month at local libraries. I remember the first time I took my daughter to a baby story time, she was just 4 weeks old. We went to the library every single week for the scheduled program and then again to trade out books. It seemed inevitable though that I was always turning in a book or two past the due date and ran up fines. While I loved taking my daughter to the library to check out books, I found that it was equally valuable to build up our home library of favorites so we could keep them forever and not worry about fines. Watching the story teller, I used to think to myself "I would LOVE to do that!" Not too long after my second child was born I started Sign4Baby and began a Signing Story Time program. Soon enough I was brought on board at several San Diego libraries to share 2 of my passions, reading and signing with children.

Having attended my fair share of story times with my own children I have observed plenty of styles and learned what works well for children of young ages.

Here are 15 ways to make reading fun with your small child:



1. Choose books your child likes. Look for fun rhymes and captivating pictures like you find in Dr. Seuss books.

2. By the same token, pick books YOU enjoy so you'll stay engaged while reading with your child.

3. Make the animal sounds and watch your child light up!  Brown Bear, Brown Bear works especially well for this:



4. Let your child help turn the pages. This works best with board books if you have a baby or toddler.

5. Take a break from reading and do an activity like dance around to some kids tunes or grab some stickers that correspond to your baby's favorite books.

6. Ask your toddler to point out the ball or dog or car in the book. They LOVE being right and will be further engaged.

7. Oblige your child when they ask to read a book for the 2nd time or 50th time in the same day. All of that repetition is good for their growing brains.

8. Find books that have moving pieces like in "Go, Dog, Go!"  or lift the flap pages like "Where is Baby's Belly Button by Karen Katz. The tactile experience helps them with learning.


9. Read early. It is never too early to begin reading with your baby. Snuggling is great fun for you and baby!

10. Read often. Shoot for at least 20 minutes a day. It doesn't have to be all at once. Short books like Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You? are a perfect place to start until your baby develops their own rhythm and love for reading and can work up to 20 minutes of sitting in one spot for story time.

11. Take your child to a local story time program at the library. Seeing other children engaged in story time helps our busy bodies learn about quiet time and circle time which is great pre school readiness skill.

12. If your child wants to skip pages, be flexible. You're still reading!

13. Use funny voices when reading aloud at home. They love when we are being silly. It's also age appropriate character development.

14. Take turns reading. Our children are taking it all in and want to be part of the story telling.

15. Learn the signs to go along with some of their favorite books. Signing while reading to your child is not only fun, it has all kinds of early literacy benefits and helps your child be able to communicate earlier.

BONUS: Here's a lesser known Dr. Seuss book My Many Colored Days


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