As seen in my blog post here, the benefits of reading to your child has enormous impact. From improved vocabulary to less aggressive behavior, books can foster a bond between parent and child.
While the benefits of reading may be clear, how to incorporate daily reading may be less obvious. Here are 5 tips for reading to your child and maximizing reading benefits.
1. Set a schedule.
Find a consistent time every day to read with, or to, your child. Perhaps it is at bedtime or after lunch. Either way, make it part of a daily routine.
2. Read for 20 minutes or more.
Reading a short story for two minutes is okay, but reading for 20 minutes is better. It enables a longer time for parent and child to be together, as well as engage in reading a variety of books to maximize language, vocabulary and social/emotional lessons. Don’t forget to use pitch, accents and other verbal cues to make the character interactions more interactive and lifelike.
3. Have a book with you at all times.
As parents, we often find ourselves waiting a lot with our kids. Perhaps it is in the grocery store line, pediatrician’s office or waiting for a late bus. Using various opportunities to read mazimizes random connections with our child throughout the day, as well as educational opportunities. It is much more valuable than both getting on iPads to pass the time.
4. Paper is good but don’t forget your phone.
You might find yourself without a paperback, or realizing you have an opportunity to read but don’t have a book on hand. Remember that there are plenty of online ‘libraries’ you can access from your smartphone like your local library that often has books to borrow via their website, Amazon Kindle, or iTunes.
5. Take Turns Reading.
If your child is old enough to read, let them read to you on a daily basis. Then find a book that is a bit outside of their reading level and read to them to foster reading growth too. Having both adult and kid taking turns reading can show a love of the written word and a better connection between parent and child.