Thursday, October 28, 2010

Why and How to Read Aloud to Your Baby and Young Child

Studies show that one of the most important things adults can do to prepare children for success in school and life is to READ ALOUD with them. Doctors even think that children need reading aloud to be fully healthy. And start from the day they come home from the hospital.

Why? Some of the benefits are:
  • builds self esteem
  • increases communication skills
  • introduces new concepts like colors, shapes, numbers, letters
  • builds listening skills, memory, vocabulary, language skills
  • develops imagination and creativity
  • increases information about the world
  • develops individual interests
  • builds positive behaviors and attitudes
How in the world do you read to a baby?

It's easy and fun. Sit them in your lap or by your side so that they will feel close to you and comfortable. This makes reading even more enjoyable. Pick books that have simple pictures and bright or high contrast colors. Books with photographs of real things are great to start with. Make sure that the books are sturdy and can even handle being eaten! Start with short books for a short attention span - and never force reading. If they get restless before the end, let them go. Encourage them to pick the books to read as soon as they're ready. Keep books where they can reach them and play with them on their own. Read in front of your baby to set an example that you love reading. With small things like recipes, signs, instructions, read them them out loud to your baby. Whenever you're reading out loud, make it fun with different voices and facial expressions - your baby will love it.

As your children grow, keep reading aloud - and let them read to you. Older siblings should be encouraged to read to their baby sister or brother. Involve the whole family in reading out loud regularly - that is really fun!

Bring your baby to our Babies & Toddler Storytime (birth to age 3) every Tuesday at 10 am. When they get older, they can come to Children's Storytime (ages 3 to 5) every Wednesday at 10 am.

Children can go through a lot of books, as they have different interests and abilities as they grow. The best way to keep up is to come to the Library, where we can help you select books appropriate to their age. You can check out up to 15 books, which may last them for the two week checkout period.

Reading aloud is the best present
you can give your baby and young child.

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