Reading, sharing stories, discussing book illustrations, singing, and generally familiarizing with the world of books help the early development of the child in many ways. Reading familiarizes the child with sounds and words, promotes brain development and imagination, teaches him about the world around him, enriches his vocabulary and, finally, cultivates a love for literature and encourages him to be curious and to continue reading later on. Find out how important it is to include books in early education, how you can promote reading and what books you can read to your child, from the first months of life.
Depending on their age, a child needs to read or be read at for least 15-20 minutes a day. But the time spent in the company of books does not always mean reading. At an early age, books are a fun family activity and it’s the time when we can cultivate the love for books in children. Try to look at pictures in a book and talk about what you see, sing and explore the different textures of pages. Such activities offer precious time together, creates strong bonds and help build the relationship between you.
Moreover, before the child learns to read and write, time spent in the company of books helps him develop basic elements such as the ability to speak, listen, understand, track and draw. As the child grows, he discovers the connection between sounds and words, between words and their graphic representation, between letters, words and sentences.
Why books are important for babies and small children
Literature is the basis of the child’s ability to read, write, communicate and socialize.
Reading and sharing stories helps the child to:
• know sounds, words, languages and customs from different countries
• appreciate stories and books;
• develop a rich imagination;
• learn to tell the difference between “real” and “imaginary”;
• understand changes and new or apparently scary events and also strong emotions that accompany them;
• discover the world around him and be curious;
• develop social and communication skills;
• develop a rich vocabulary and a wide range of interests.
Reading also shows the child that he can obtain valuable information and an enjoyable time with the help of books.
Tips for spending time in the company of books
Even babies can learn from reading books:
• In general, babies enjoy books with rhymes. Repeating syllables and simple words in the form of a song help them learn to speak first words;
• Read slowly and spend some time on each page after reading the words. This will allow the child to focus on the form of the words and images;
• Highlight and name familiar things that the child sees on the page. The more words he hears, the more he learns, the sooner he will speak and will associates words with images more easily;
• Change the tone of your voice as you read. This will keep the child’s attention and get him used to different sounds and tones.
Starting from the age of 18 months, children begin to understand more and more about the fascinating world of books:
• Establish a routine and try to present a new book every day. This way, the child’s curiosity to discover new stories and characters develops. At the same time, if the child show love for a favourite book, read it daily or whenever he wants;
• Avoid reading stories to him if he does not like them. Time spent in the company of books should be pleasant;
• Establish a comfortable reading place for both of you. Turn off the TV, radio or any other source of noise and find a quiet place to read so the child can focus on your voice;
• While reading, make sure the little one can follow both the words on the page and the illustrations and characters. You can sometimes stop to ask the child questions such as: “What do you think will happen?” or “Let’s look at the little pig’s face. Is he happy? ” These questions are designed to develop the child’s imagination and teach him about emotions and feelings;
• Try different tones and funny sounds. Set small scenarios, play and have fun. This way you create wonderful memories for your child;
• Involve the child by encouraging discussions about images and by repeating new words and expressions. When you discover a new word for your child, stop and ask him what he thinks it means. Then, tell him or, if possible, show him a graphic image.
• Create a mini-library for your child from an early age and, as he grows up, allow him to choose the book from which to read and the new books to add to his collection by himself.
• Ask the child to turn the pages from the book to get used to different textures.
What books to choose for your child
• For babies, books should be soft and waterproof because, most likely, they will draw on them and tarnish them with food.
• Choose books with strong colours, with simple shapes and large illustrations, to attract their attention;
• Includes books with different textures so that the child can see and feel the book, along with hearing the words. Sensory books are a good idea, that gives children the opportunity to move the elements and stimulate their senses;
• Choose books with characters that are about the same age as the child and are part of the child’s universe or area of interest. They can be animals, robots, fairies or princesses, trains or cars;
• Use books with illustrations showing different faces and expressions to teach them about emotions;
• It is important for the child to meet a variety of book characters, who come from different countries, who may have darker or lighter skin, speak different languages or use different words, and who dress in different clothes;
• Choose books for your child that promote positive values, such as kindness, bravery, perseverance, and discuss how real people show these traits. Curiosity, open-mindedness and determination are just some of the values that can be fueled by exposure to stories.
Examples of books to read to your child
Books written in English:
• The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Author: Eric Carle
• Where Is the Green Sheep? Autor: Judy Horacek
• Giraffes Can’t Dance. Author: Giles Andreae
• The Wonky Donkey. Author: Craig Smith
• The Snail and the Whale. Author: Julia Donaldson
Books written in Romanian:
• Micul prinț pentru cei mici. Author: Antoine de Saint-Exupery
• Te iubesc până la Luna și la Stele. Author: Tim Warnes
• Iepurașul norocos. Author: Guido Van Genechten
• Bobo, elefănțelul curajos: Authors: Paloma Wensell, Ulises Wensell
• Cea mai strălucitoare stea. Author: Danielle Schothorst
Discover our online storytelling videos, by Acorns Nursery teachers, on our Facebook page.
This week, the story “Oliver’s Wood”, told by Fiona Duțu, Head Teacher.