1. Choose the right time to read. Apparently, one of the big mistakes new parents make is to read to babies before bed or nap time. At this point, they are tired, fidgety and irritable. A better time to read is when they wake from their nap, during their play time, when they will be more alert and open to sitting still on their parents’ laps with a book.
2. Choose the right book. The Very Hungry Caterpillar is wonderful for babies in its language and presentation, with holes that curious babies can poke their fingers through, numbers and a wide range of words and sounds. The “That’s Not My….” series is also popular with babies, introducing them to different textures, which can be beneficial for their development.
3. Respond to their interests. Some children love trains and cars. Others are interested in animals and nature. Some love fairies. Others are fascinated by monsters. Find books that feature children’s natural interests. Even if you can’t get through the whole story, you can talk about the pictures and make associated sounds (roar like a lion, toot like a train), which provides many of the benefits of reading.
4. Let children see how much you love to read. Your interest in books will be infectious as the child gets older and they are likely to model their behaviour on you.
5. Don’t give up. Even recognising how to open a book and turn pages is an advantage when children start school. Talk to your local librarian for advice and recommendations.