The sixth in a series of articles on The Basics: five FUN, SIMPLE and POWERFUL ways to give your child a great start. This week’s blog is written by Melissa Sullivan, marketing communications consultant and mom of three, on behalf of The Palmetto Basics
How does your child learn to think?
It is never too early to begin reading to your child—even babies enjoy it and benefit! Reading aloud from the very beginning is one of the most important things you can do to prepare your child to do well in school. Reading and talking to your child about the story, even before they understand, builds their language skills and sparks their imagination. Reading, looking at books, or sharing stories is also a special time to snuggle up and connect. Reading together creates bonds and lasting memories for parents and children.
Spend a few minutes with books every day. Your baby won’t understand at first, but that is OK. They will hear your voice, see the pictures, and develop good feelings about books. And you will enjoy the cuddle time with your baby!
Sturdy board books with hard covers and thick pages are designed for babies. Choose books that are short, with simple, bright pictures.
Follow Their Lead
When your baby starts to loose interest, try another book or stop. Short periods of reading are best.
Your child might want to hold the book, turn the pages, or pat the pictures. They might even chew on the book. Let them; it’s all a part of learning. Talk in response to the ways they engage with the story.
Talk About It
Point to pictures and talk about them. Name different objects. Pay attention to the pictures your toddler likes.
Describe the Pictures
It’s not always important to read all – or even any – of the words. Point to the pictures and talk about the colors, shapes and what the characters are doing. Use position words to describe things (up, down, top, bottom, over, under, short, long, straight, curvy). Respond to the ways your child engages with the story.
Show Your Interest
When you read, make an effort to use your voice and facial expressions to show how interesting the story is to you. Using different voices can be fun. Smile, laugh, frown. Say “I want to know what happens next!”
Set a Great Example
If toddlers see grown ups reading and know they enjoy it, they will learn that reading is fun and important part of life. And you don’t have to read novels! Magazines and newspapers count, too!
Reading turns kids into confident thinkers. Make books a regular part of your relationship from the very beginning. Talk about pictures. Make it fun!
For more Read & Discuss Stories tips, visit our website.
Each month, The Basics shares information about a local agency making a difference in the lives of Upstate children. Read on to learn how the United Way of the Piedmont is helping children in Spartanburg, and how you can get involved.
Virtual Reading Buddies
Because in-school volunteers have been suspended due to COVID, United Way of the Piedmont and Spartanburg Academic Movement are working to ensure students continue to receive reading intervention. Volunteers record a video of themselves reading a children’s book and teachers in Spartanburg and Cherokee Counties share these videos to supplement in-class learning. If you want to participate, email Colin for instructions.
Little Free Libraries
Throughout Spartanburg County, various groups have created Little Free Libraries. These free book exchanges allow anyone to borrow a book or donate one of their own books. Borrow a book, donate an old book, and help your child and others become readers!
Contact the United Way of the Piedmont to learn more. (link: https://www.uwpiedmont.org/)
About The Basics
The Palmetto Basics was born out of a desire to come alongside families and offer practical, everyday ways to foster school readiness. The Palmetto Basics is a local affiliate of The Basics National Network.