Start early and keep going
There is no time too early to begin reading to your child. Even before your child is speaking, she is learning about speech and language from those around her- sounds, words, intonation and more. When your child begins to show interest in books, find board books featuring first words or classics like Goodnight Moon. As your child gets older, choose stories that increase in length and complexity. You can continue reading together even as your child learns to do it on her own.
Build a routine
Many families choose to read a book before bed each night. However, if this is difficult for your schedule, find another time that works. If you love reading in the morning, try doing it with your child each day. Continue this routine so that book reading becomes something you both look forward to every day. You can also start making regular trips to the library so that you can choose your next books together.
Get ready for school
As your child nears preschool age, help her build literacy skills. Point out each word as you read it aloud, helping her learn that print is connected to what you say. Show her the title and author of each book you read. Note when words and sounds are similar. For instance, you might say, “Beep and sheep sound the same- they rhyme!” or “Cold, candy and cane all have the ‘k’ sound.”
Encourage your child to contribute
Turn book reading into a truly shared activity by incorporating ways for your child to do more than just listen. Give your child a chance to fill in familiar phrases like “Ready, set, go.” Choose one of your child’s favorite books and have him “read” the story to you one night (it’s okay if it’s not exactly right). As your child’s language advances, help him learn to make predictions by asking what he thinks will happen next.
What are some of your favorite books to read with your child?