Reading is extremely important for young children for many reasons. It helps prepare them to learn to read themselves, as well as foster a love of learning, grow vocabulary, explore the world through books, grow their imaginations, and most importantly build a bond with you through a joint experience.
Reading is something you can do anytime of the day and basically anywhere and it can become a great way to say goodnight to your little one each night. When I put my toddler to bed we read the same few books every night, which is his choice, and by reading the same books repetitively he is learning new skills as well as strengthening existing ones. Each night when we read “Brown Bear, Brown Bear” he repeats each animal that he sees on the page, and at the end of the book, where all the colours are lined up he has to “say all colours” before we can close it up. The last few nights though, instead of just listing colours he now relates them to the animals, for example, gold fish, white dog, purple cat and so on. He has strengthened his knowledge of colours and grown his ability to retain information. These are skills your little one will learn too!
So what are my favourite picks?
This book is fantastic for young ones as it is repetitive in nature, as in it always asks the same question, “what do you see”? This reinforces language as well as teaches children that the question requires a response, “I see a … looking at me”. It teaches the concept of colour through labelling each animal “brown bear, white dog, purple cat”, as well as teaches what each animal is. Sometimes when we read this book we make the animal sounds, or Roland likes to be silly and call them all “purple cat” laughing and being cheeky as he does so. Roland will tell me what the colour and animal is after I have paused in my reading, which naturally prompts him to respond by saying what comes next, which he knows because he can see the picture but also because we have read this book so many times he remembers the progression of animals. This book is a must have for all children’s libraries!
Another brilliant book for toddlers as it’s fun to read. Again it’s repetitive in its language, which is important to reinforce the learning of new concepts or vocabulary, continually asking, “but where is the green sheep”? Each page shows different coloured sheep, some being cheeky, some being clever, some acting out concepts like opposites, up and down. Without even reading the words this book has a lot to offer, as simply discussing what you see on the page can be an interesting thing to do.
This book is again repetitive in language which you know reinforces learning. We hear the words over, under and through, as well as see the familiy overcoming the obstacles in their way. Little ones love to “go on a bear hunt” either around the house or in the yard and simply acting out each page is great fun for them. This book usually can be found with a cd included which means you can sing along and act it out in your lounge room!
What I love about this book is the children can join in by doing all the actions that are mentioned by the authors. Curling up like a ball, or stretching out tall, are great ways to get them involved in their reading. Can they look at what the wombat is doing and copy? Can they guess what he will do next? I used to love using this book at group time at kindy because it would get the children interested in reading because they loved completing each action.
These books are fantastic purely because they grow vocabulary. Each book has something new to see and another word to learn. Roland is obsessed with labelling colours, so we read a lot of colour books. Little does he know though, whilst he is busy finding “red” I am busy teaching him new words, “yes Roland, the tomato is red”!
Reading can be a great way to connect with your little one and fun to see how fast they learn as you read the same books each day. Just 5 minutes of reading everyday when they are young can be a great head start to their learning and preparation for ‘Big School”, fostering their love of learning from a young age and giving them all the pre reading skills they may need.
If you like to read to your little one and have a photo to share, head over to my Facebook page, we would love to see it!
You can hear me read “Where is the Green Sheep” here.
First 5 Forever A great website by the Queensland Government and State Library that has great ideas and information about why reading is so important.
Mem Fox’s 10 read aloud commandments. Her website has all sorts of interesting ideas and things to read.
Parents.com has a great article about what to read and at what age.