Resources for Parents
How to Make Reading Part of Your Child’s Life
Parents can make reading with their children an important part of their daily routine. Following are helpful suggestions for reading with young children and choosing appropriate books, including a list of recommended titles.
Tips for Reading With Children
- Read aloud to your child every day. From birth to six months, your baby probably won’t understand what you are reading. But that’s okay! Your baby will get used to the sound of your voice and will also become accustomed to seeing and touching books.
- To start, use board books with no words or just a few words. Point to the colors and the pictures and say their names. Simple books can teach children things that will later help them learn to read. For example, they learn about the structure of language – that there are spaces between words and that the print goes from left to right.
- Tell stories. Encourage your child to ask questions and talk about the story. Ask your child to predict what will come next. Point to things in books that they can relate to in their own life, like: “Look at the picture of the penguin. Do you remember the penguin we saw at the zoo?”
- Buy a children’s dictionary. If possible, find one that has pictures next to the words. Then start a “Let’s look it up!” habit.
- Make writing materials available. Drawing and writing are part of literacy skills.
- Visit the public library often. Begin weekly trips to the library when your child is very young. See that your child gets his or her own library card as soon as possible. Many libraries issue cards to children as soon as they can print their own names.
- Read yourself. What you do sets an example for your child.
Tips for Choosing Books
Infants 6-12 months like:
- Board books with photos of babies
- Brightly colored board books to touch and taste
- Books with pictures of familiar objects, i.e. balls, bottles, etc.
- Small books sized for small hands
Younger toddlers 12-24 months like:
- Sturdy board books they can handle and carry
- Books with photos and pictures of children doing familiar things, i.e. sleeping, eating, playing, etc.
- Goodnight books for bedtime
- Books about saying goodbye and hello
- Books with only a few words on the page
- Books with simple rhymes or predictable text
Older toddlers 24-26 months like:
- Books with board pages as well as books with paper pages
- Silly books and funny books
- Books they can learn by heart with rhymes, rhythms or repetitious text
- Books about children and families
- Books about making friends
- Books about food
- Books about animals
- Books about trucks
- Word books
Preschoolers 3-5 years like:
- Books that tell stories
- Books about kids that look like them and live like them, but also books about different places and different ways of living
- Books about going to school and about making friends
- Books with simple text they can memorize
- Counting books, alphabet books and vocabulary books