Ways to encourage young children to love books from the start!
Do you struggle getting your child to sit down and look at a book with you?
Here are a few suggestions that will help you and your child enjoy reading together and below are some books that are perfect for kicking off the fall season!
Start by facing your child in front of you and the placing the book near your face. This provides great social engagement and allows your child to see those great facial expressions you will be making as you look at the book together. Also, this strategy will support your child’s language development because they will be able to watch your mouth closely as you provide simple labels and descriptions which relate to the story you will be looking at together. Feel free to let your child stand up or you can lay on the floor next to them as you read together. Keep in mind that you always want to be at their eye level as you look at the book together.
Limit the demands while looking at a book together. We want our children to love reading but if we have too many rules such as “sit still”, “sit down” or “listen” that can be tough for some of our little ones. Let’s start simple by having the child choose a book they want and allowing them to participate by doing simple tasks such as turning the pages and open and closing the book.
As you get comfortable allowing your child to take the lead with a book you can start incorporating some simple narration as you point to specific pictures such as “Look, I see a dog” or “I see a cat sleeping”.
Provide hand under hand, if needed, to assist your child and show them how to point at pictures too. This is a great way to support their joint attention.
Keep it fun! Add silly noises such as “hop hop” if there is a bunny hopping or exclamatory noises such as “oh no” if something unexpected is happening in the picture. Again be sure to point to what you are describing in the picture.
Providing repetitive verbal models with a pause is a great way to motivate and encourage your child to participate. Counting books are great for this strategy as it usually shows a repeated image that you can label over and over again. For example, “ball, ball, ball, this is a _____” and allow your child to fill in during the pause.
As your child gets more confident and comfortable looking at a book you may find they start initiating pointing. This is a great time to provide a label or description to build their vocabulary or if your child has a great vocabulary ask a simple question such as “What are they doing?". Be careful about asking too many questions. You don’t want it to feel like work to your child.
If your child has a strong understanding of vocabulary and is great at labeling pictures you can start supporting their sequencing and inferencing skills by having them guess what they think will happen in the story.
Try these suggested books to kick off your Fall season!
Five Little Pumpkins:
Baby Loves Fall:
Where is Baby’s Pumpkin?:
Little Orange Truck:
Peek-a Flap Boo:
Don’t Push Button a Halloween Treat:
Pete the Cat: Five Little Pumpkins:
The Spooky Wheels on the Bus:
I hope you enjoy trying these strategies and your little ones grow to love reading this fall season!