Why is it good to read to kids, babies even?

Aids in LANGUAGE development. As babies and toddlers hear the use and rhythm of words in books they begin to attach meaning to those words.
• Aids their ability to decode pictures (they are learning to DERIVE MEANING from symbols)
• Gives caregivers and children a special BONDING TIME each day. Snuggled on your lap, baby learns that reading time is a good time.
• Stimulates IMAGINATION. Babies don’t have many experiences to draw from, but stories can help them interpret new situations, make sense of those already experienced, and introduce them to experiences they have not yet had
• Teaches LISTENING skills. Babies and toddlers who are read to have longer attention spans as older children than children who are not read to as babies.
• ENTERTAINS them. It’s ok to let babies play with books! They are experiencing them the only way they know how and are learning that books are fun.
• Introduces SEQUENCING. Stories have a beginning, middle, and end.
• Helps them develop PRE READING SKILLS:
o Oral language skills and phonological awareness (sounds make up words and words have meaning)
o Print awareness and letter knowledge (awareness of the shapes—letters—that make up words and learn names for those shapes)
o Motivation to learn and appreciation for literacy forms (reading is fun and a good thing)

How to start reading with your kids:
• Pick books you enjoy (babies/toddlers pick up on cues that ‘this is fun!’)
• Look for books that are simple, colorful, rhythmic, and have repetition
• Start when kiddos are born
• Don’t rush
• Read everyday
• Skip pages, shorten pages, or go off script (stop reading, start talking about pictures and colors) if restless or fussy
• Involve child- hold book so they can see, point things out, talk about pictures
• Be expressive! Make sound effects, animal voices
• Vary pace of reading
• Have child pick a book
• Repeat books! The more you repeat it, the more are able to feel confidence in the sequence of events. This feels like an achievement to them, and they learn new words every time they hear the story
• Decode pictures and give them meaning based on the words they are hearing
• Let child see you read and write (show them and tell them what you are doing-it shows that you think reading and writing is important
• Have lots of books at home
• Give books as presents
• Visit the library
• Use words your toddler knows
• Move finger across page
• Talk talk talk! Explain what you are doing when you change their diaper, talk about trees as you walk past, talk about how and what they are playing, talk about anything! It’s how they get a vocabulary.
• Sing. It slows words down so kiddos can hear all the sounds that go into a word
• Play music
• Ask child about pictures (decode meaning)
• Answer questions
• Never stop reading aloud-even if they can read
• Tell stories
• Snuggle while reading
• Think about toddlers interests when picking books (but also colors and rhymes)
• Rhymes with tickles (language and fun-they anticipate the tickles)
• Talk about shapes- print awareness and letter knowledge is about knowing the difference between shapes
• Play with letters! (magnets, in bathtub, sidewalk chalk, play dough, crayons even!)