Young children are curious and keen to learn about the world and one of the ways they learn best is through book exploration and storytelling time. As our little ones are not reading for themselves yet, it’s our duty, parents and teachers, to make sure we provide the first access to books and reading opportunities.
Read further, to learn a few tips on how to develop your child’s interest in books at home!
0-8months – Young babies begin to listen to, distinguish and respond to intonations and sounds of voices. They also begin to look intently at a person talking to them. During story time, use a lively voice, with ups and downs (modulation) to help babies tune in. Use repeated sounds and words and phrases so babies can begin to recognise particular sounds. Share your favourite stories as you are setting the baby to sleep, or at other quiet times.
8-20 months – By this age children, begin to pay attention to a dominant stimulus but are still easily distracted by noises or other people talking. To help get your baby’s attention, encourage playfulness, turn-taking and responses, including peek-a-boo games and rhymes.
16-26 months – Toddlers begin to listen to and enjoy rhythmic patterns in rhymes and stories and demonstrate it by trying to join in with actions or vocalisations. Sometimes they may appear not to hear, due to the typical rigid attention of this age, but don’t worry, they really are listening to you! While sharing a book, you can talk about the different sounds in the story, such as a tractor’s chug chug or a duck’s quack quack!
22-36 months – Around this age, children begin to listen with clear interest to the noises adults make when they read stories. You can use puppets and other props to encourage listening and responding when singing or reading a familiar story. Don’t forget to encourage repetition, rhythm and rhyme by using tone and intonation as you tell, recite or sing stories, poems and rhymes from books. Being expressive is key!
30-50 months – Pre-schoolers listen to stories with increasing attention and recall. They join in with repeated refrains and anticipate key events and phrases in rhymes and stories. While playing together, maybe you can model being a listener by listening to your child reading you a story! Don’t forget to help them remember that print carries meaning and, in English, is read from left to right and top to bottom. Children love to pretend they are reading, just like mummy and daddy!
At Hummingbird, we help parents learn storytelling techniques like making story bags, involve them in early literacy activities and even promote book fairs to help them choose age-appropriate storybooks. The last tip from teachers: don’t forget to have fun! 🙂