Thursday (3rd March) was World Book Day and it is a great reminder for us about the importance of reading with your young child. Reading and sharing stories with your child is a great way to spend time together. It helps promote language, literacy and brain development. Reading books together with your child helps your child become familiar with sounds, words, language and the value of books. This all builds your child’s early literacy skills, helping her go on to read successfully later in life. Sharing stories with your child doesn’t mean you have to read. Just by looking at books with your child, you can be a great storyteller and a good model for using language and books. Your child will learn by watching you hold a book the right way and seeing how you move through the book by gently turning the pages.
Reading stories sparks your child’s imagination, stimulates curiosity and helps with brain development. Interesting illustrations and word patterns – such as rhymes – can get your child talking about what she’s seeing and thinking, and help her understand the patterns of language. Exploring stories also helps your child learn the difference between ‘real’ and ‘make-believe’ and might help develop her own ideas.
Reading or telling stories can also be safe ways to explore strong emotions, which can help your child understand change, as well as new or frightening events. Books about going to the dentist or hospital, starting at child care or making new friends will help your child learn about the world around her. Reading stories with children has benefits for grown-ups too. This special time together promotes bonding and helps to build your relationship, laying the groundwork for your child’s later social, communication and interpersonal skills.
We would like to encourage all parents and caregivers to take the time this weekend to share a book that was special to you as a child.