Memories that become timeless
I remember cuddling up with Mum, safe in her arms as she would read and share her love of stories with me. It still warms my heart. I remember shifting my gaze from page to page, and looking up watching her, filled with anticipation of what was next as she read to me, the story in our hands.
It is widely understood that early reading plays a vital role in developing and creating a love of reading for children. Even more when it is shared with a parent or a loved one! No matter the context, a shared story really sets the scene for lifelong benefits. Developed through connection and relationships from an early age, a love of reading and literature becomes timeless.
Is my child ready for reading?
While you wait with anticipation for the arrival of your unborn child, why not start reading to them and encourage a love of reading right from the very start? Mum, Dad, or other family members can talk to the baby and share stories. This is a beautiful way to start creating familiarity and sharing favourite stories that become timeless.
It is interesting to know that from around 16-18 weeks in utero, infants begin to hear their first sounds; and by 24 weeks those beautiful little ears are rapidly developing taking in all kinds of noises. By reading to your unborn baby you are teaching them the sound of your voice and the rhythm of language.
Connecting with infants through reading
When you create rich language and literacy interactions by reading with your infant this develops each child’s love of reading in ways you would never imagine. Infants learn the role of sounds, words and language through reading with parents and loved ones, which supports brain development in many ways. When you share your love of reading, infants can:
- Learn to value and love reading and stories
- Learn about emotions and expression
- Observe, learn about and mimic facial expressions and mouth movements
- Learn about turn taking in conversations
- Learn about their own language, culture and heritage
- Experience favourite family stories and develop a repertoire of stories
- Learn about the value of stories, through role modelled reading
Creating a Love of Reading and Literature with Young Children
“Just one more, please.” he begged. “Please just one more story?” he insisted.
This is a familiar request in homes everywhere, including mine, each and every night before bed. One might say it is because I am such a wonderful storyteller, or, is it because this is how my child buys more one-on-one time to snuggle up? In my own opinion, I definitely think both! An evening ritual of the good old fashioned bedtime story, can develop a love of reading from an early age which is why it remains timeless. And, it’s not always about the story (sometimes it’s the same story on repeat night after night!). It is about creating opportunities for interaction, conversation and language. Let your child lead the way, follow their interest and see what draws their attention. When reading with children, children can:
- learn to value books and stories
- learn about oral language, rhythm and rhyme, repetition and language properties
- learn about the parts of a book, and how to handle books and their value
- develop a love of stories and familiar texts
- share stories that can support discussions about emotion and experiences
- learn different genres of stories, stories that capture their imagination, stories that they can connect with, books that encourage questioning and investigation
Reading Happens Everywhere!
Reading before bed is great, but books are portable and reading can happen anywhere! I always keep a book in my bag to help pass the time when we are waiting for an appointment. My daughter loves it when I read to her while I brush her hair in the morning. We have plastic books that go in the bath and board books that live in the car!
Sharing a love of reading is a beautiful gift to give a child. It is the gift that keeps giving and will support them in their development and, one that if nurtured, will last a life time.
So find that story that means something to you. A favourite from your childhood maybe? And share it with your child right from the beginning in utero and beyond!