If parents develop an appropriate environment at home that fosters a love for reading, then teaching toddlers to read can be easy. And once a child learns to read, other important components of learning, such as spelling and even writing, naturally follow.
Like most parents, you are probably keen to get your toddler to learn reading and writing earlier. However, you are bound to hear the term ‘more haste, less speed’. Pushing your child to read without genuine interest can defeat the purpose.
It is important to understand the difference between loving to read books and learning to read books. If you can get your child to love reading, learning to read will follow.
The key is…
To teach your child to read in a way that uses play as the foundation.
Here’s how you can nurture the love for reading depending on the stage that your child is in:
Reading to your baby
It’s good to start nurturing the love for reading from young by reading to your baby. Let your child look through, play and even chew on the books. You want to put together an environment where reading is fun and relaxing to familiarise your child with the concept of reading!
Here are 3 approaches:
- Make Up Stories
You do not necessarily have to read the book each time (otherwise you’ll both be extremely bored). You can get as creative as possible. Make up stories around the images, or repeat the name of the object or animal drawn in the book in a sing-song.
- Make sure a book is always accessibleBooks should always be made accessible to your baby. You can keep it next to his toys on the floor and let him play or even chew on it. The more interaction that your baby has with a book the more familiar he/she will be with the concept of reading!
- Get sensory booksBabies are at a stage where their motor skills are developing rapidly. Try to get books with different textures and images and colours, and some that even sing when you open them. [Insert a preview to our website]
At this stage, learning should be about having fun and being creative. So try to make this activity as inclusive and as fun as possible.
Reading to Toddlers
Remember, don’t get tempted to push your toddler to read and write really quickly. Everything has its time and place. As soon as they turn 18 months, toddlers should get the the idea that a book has a front and back and that it has pages in between. They can also understand that pages are read from left to right. In addition, they may start to understand that the words you speak aloud are made up of letters. Here’s how you can try to help your toddler to nurture his love for reading:
- Choose books that are funny, clear with uncomplicated textThese elements will engage your toddlers visually. Those with rhythm are even better because they help the child absorb the structure of the sentences. This also helps to sharpen their listening skills.
- Insert Questions So if they have been hearing you repeat the same rhyme, try to see if they can finish your sentences based on what they hear. For instance, “Twinkle, twinkle, little star. How I wonder….”
- Read with ActivitiesReading can be made fun with easy-to-find materials and clear instructions. Learning letters and focusing on words your preschooler already knows makes learning to read enjoyable. Focus on high-frequency words and sight word activities next for even more fun. [Insert a link for them to have a glimpse of our activities examples]
Understanding your child’s dominant learning style is also a key element to nurture the love for reading. Take this personality test to find out your child’s dominant learning style!