5 Reasons Why You Should Start Books Early
Having your own little one can be stressful to say the least, especially when you are trying to make sure they are developing well. It’s hard to keep on top of all the many changes they are constantly going through - their feeding, play, social skills, communication, motor skills – all of this is continually evolving as your child grows. You’ve heard books are great for children, but when should they be introduced? When is too early? When is too late?! To help make things clear as mud; there is no rule for when books should be read to children. But! It is never too early! Books can be a big positive, even for children less than a year old. Here’s why:
1. Books provide opportunity for language input.
Children are constantly soaking in the language they are hearing around them. Books are a great, focused way of increasing this input which benefits their communication development, particularly their vocabulary. You don’t have to read the words, instead, talk about the story, the pictures, let your child show you what interests them in the book and provide as much rich language as you can.
2. Starting early will support later literacy development.
Learning to read is a momentous skill. It requires knowledge of the sounds of words and how they can be manipulated, as well as how this pairs with the written squiggles we see on a page. By showing your child letters and words early, you will help them to realise that language can be written as well as spoken, and following the words on the page as they listen to you will give them a head start on identifying which sounds match which letters.
3. Your child will learn how a book works.
Books aren’t just about the words on the page. You must first understand the concept of a book and its structure before you can make sense of what is written. By introducing books early, your child will get to know that a book has pages that must be turned, that there is a title on the front, that there is a beginning, middle and end, that there are pictures that go with the story. These are all important skills for literacy development and general academic work; books are fundamental at kindy and school, so it is always a good thing to help your child learn about what books are for and how they work.
4. A love of books will be fostered.
Do you find it hard to keep your child sheltered from the wide world of screens and technology? It certainly is a challenge in today’s world of TVs, iPads and phones which more and more children are gravitating towards as a means of entertainment. Bringing books into your child’s life early will show them an activity that is fun, positive and interesting, which will make it more likely that they will continue to engage with reading as they grow into an older child. A love of books builds a positive connection with the academic work children will be a part of at school and has countless benefits in terms of your child’s learning and imagination.
5. Sharing a book is a wonderful opportunity for fun and closeness with your child.
Are you finding it hard to keep up with your child’s energy levels and seemingly constant need to be always “GO-GO-GO!”? Sharing a book together is a lovely, peaceful time when you can connect in a fun way with your little one. The natural closeness of this activity, either side by side or with your child on your lap, means that your child feels safe and loved while engaging with this positive experience of reading and talking about books. This is a simple but invaluable way to strengthen your bond with your child.
There are no downsides to the wonderful pairing of books and children, so starting early will only bring positives. No need to stress about “am I doing this right?” The most important thing to remember is to make it fun and happy and the rest will follow!