It’s hard to overestimate the importance of reading! And even from infancy you can start your child on the path to reading on their own! Here are some steps you can take, with each stage of your child’s development.
1. Introducing it in infancy
Although your baby isn’t able to speak yet, introducing them to the world of reading is an important step! Babies have rapidly developing brains, and they can learn words easily. In addition to reading them simple stories, you can teach them individual words. Write them in large print and read them aloud in a clear voice. You can also use the multisensory method to teach words. This involves using books, computers, or kinesthetic channels (such as tasting, smelling, and feeling) to introduce words to your baby.
2. Teaching a toddler
As your child develops a vocabulary and starts speaking, you can begin more involved reading lessons. Start by reading regularly with them and assessing their readiness level. Remember, their attention span isn’t lengthy, so they need short interesting lessons and books. While reading to them, try choosing books with variety. Ask questions about the pictures or the story to keep them involved. Build reading into the daily routine, even if it’s just a couple books a day. Finally, start introducing letter sounds to your child. For example, start with their name. Spell it out and explain how each letter sounds and fits together to form their name.
3. Almost there!
Once your child can start to grasp some written words on their own, you can start teaching them phonics. Phonics is the process of associating sounds with a letter or group of letters. It will help your child more easily recognize and understand words by sight. You can create a simple phonics exercise by making words your child can stretch out, literally! Simply string together the letters of a word on elastic. Your child can stretch out the word and identify the separate letter sounds before putting them all together to make the word. Finally, give your child some books they can read on their own. This list of books has some excellent suggestions!
Although each child learns at a different pace, the end result is rewarding! Working with your child is bonding and creates memories as they learn and grow.