We all have heard many times why it is important to read to your child. Reading helps children develop language, vocabulary, attention – all very important. But have you stopped to think about HOW to read to your child?
When reading to my 18-month-old, I sometimes must remind my perfectionist self that I don’t need to read word-for-word. I don’t even need to read front-to-back. And if we don’t finish a book – fine! When reading to toddlers, the exploration is part of the journey, and the fun!
Following his/her lead will keep your child interested, and you can use this as an opportunity to teach about how books work. If he/she wants to flip from the front page to the back, then talk about the beginning and end of the book. If he/she wants to flip back to a favorite page, talk again about what the characters are doing. It is ok to talk as you read – talk about the pictures, the character’s emotions, the sounds that might be in the story (which has led my daughter to let out a loud “Roar!” when she sees the tiger in her zoo book).
Get creative and silly – use fun voices for different characters. Remember, there is no “right” way to read a book. Teaching kids how to have fun while reading is the first step towards them being life-long readers.