So you think you know how to read a book to your child…? [12 months to 3 years]

Did you know there is a direct relationship between the hours a child has been read to and their success in literacy?  It is also linked to their likelihood of attending university, better parent-child interaction and promotes far higher vocabulary, attention span and imagination skills.


Children learn through imitation, so the more you show them that reading is fun, the more likely they will be to enjoy reading too.  Below are some tips to get more out of reading with your child (remember reading to your child ideally starts from birth and occurs daily!!):

  • when at a familiar page, wait and wait some more for your child to join in by saying a word/words, pointing or doing an action previously seen
  • wait before you turn a page to see if your child knows what is coming next (they might say a word or a gesture to let you know they remember the next part)
  • ask questions
    • for ~18mths-3yr olds : what is he doing?, who is that?, encourage naming and pointing
    • for 3-5yr olds : I wonder what might happen next?, have you ever seen that?, what was it like?, encourage more story retell or relating to their own experiences
  • add in actions to add more meaning, particularly for little ones eg. hand showing ‘over’ for cow jumping over the moon, arms doing movement for wipers on the bus, hand movement to show what ‘tilt’ the boat means
  • after you have read that book for the 50th time (!!), encourage your child to help you ‘retell’ the book, by looking at the pictures and asking if they remember what happened. Encourage any attempts and try not to correct them. This is great for learning to sequence stories themselves (and to see what they understand of the book)
  • before the last page, ask your child what they think might happen. A great one for improving imagination! And after their idea, you could offer another possible ending so they can see there are many ways to write a story and different people might think of different ‘ideas’
  • refer back to favourite books in real life scenarios, for example, ‘that’s a pipe, like a water spout incy wincy was in!!’, ‘we fell in the water like the animals in ‘Who sank the boat’!’, ‘look, these are pumpkin seeds, remember like we saw in the book….?’
  • talk about the characters, relate them to your child (‘he misses his daddy when he is away, like you do’, ‘he’s got a little sister, like you do!’)
  • don’t forget to define words your child may not understand by using actions or other words your child knows (think Getting thrown into a new language is not easy.)   Don’t overlook any words as you might be surprised the words you thought your child would understand, they aren’t really sure of what it actually means.
  • Aim to pick a few words per book (do you know what ‘afraid’ means, what do you think a ‘tuffet’ is?) to discuss

Most importantly! Respond enthusiastically to all attempts to join in.  Don’t get caught up in just reading the book!

Stay tuned for some book ideas and reviews for Book Week!!

And for the little ones, So you think you know how to read a book to your child – [birth to 12 months].

2 thoughts on “So you think you know how to read a book to your child…? [12 months to 3 years]

  1. When Toby reads to the kids he always changes the names in the book to our families names and our dogs names etc. Ava thinks its just hilarious- it makes book reading fun.

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