Parents as teachers
Children learn best by doing things - and they love doing things with you! Reading together will help your baby:
- Grow in confidence
- Grow in imagination
- Get ready for school, and succeed in school
Sharing books with your baby or toddler...
- Is enjoyable!
- Teaches your baby to talk and listen.
- Teaches your baby to think and understand.
- Helps your baby be aware of the world.
- Boosts brain development.
- Gets your child ready to read by herself or himself.
When to share books
- Begin when your child is born.
- Set aside a special time each day, such as nap time, bedtime, or after meals.
- Share a book with your baby every day. Twenty minutes is ideal, but even just a few minutes will make a difference.
- Share books when you both need some quiet time.
- Bring a book when you know you'll be waiting: at the doctor's office, bus stop, out to dinner, etc.
- Find books that connect to something in real life, for example: dogs barking, going to the zoo, fire trucks.
How to share books
- Turn off distractions - television, radio, or stereo.
- Have your child pick the books to read.
- Re-read your child's favorite books whenever asked.
- Hold you baby in your lap; show your baby the book.
- Interact with the book and your baby: point to pictures, ask your child to point out objects in the pictures, talk together about the story, pictures, or the book. ("Look what's on the back cover!")
- Point to the pictures of words as you read, or ask your child to point out objects in the pictures.
- Read aloud in your most dramatic voice.
- Let your baby play with the book if he or she wants to.
- Stop when your baby loses interest or gets upset. Try again later.
Even when you're not reading
- Talk with your baby about what is going on around you.
- When your baby or toddler "talks" to you, listen carefully, and answer. Don't worry if you misunderstood!
- Speak in the language most comfortable for you.
- Tell your child stories.
- Encourage your toddler to tell you stories. Listen closely and ask questions about the stories.
- Tell your child nursery rhymes or make up rhymes.
- Sing songs to your baby or toddler.
- Have the alphabet available to play with in blocks, magnets, foam shapes, or pasta.
Most importantly: Have fun!