A good start is to introduce babies to books which are made from durable materials that won’t rip or tear. Children that have plenty of contact with books learn very early that in English books work from left to right and print works from top to bottom. This can be supported by adults pointing to the words in the title as they introduce the story.
What young children are most interested in are the pictures in books. Pretend reading is an important step in learning to read. Parents and caregivers sometimes dismiss picture books, especially books, with no words, as ‘not being real reading’. But picture books are an important tool in stimulating children’s interest in books. They encourage open dialect between adults and the child and stimulate creativity and the kind of talk that is important for children to hear.
Books of all kinds build on children’s language and literacy skills. When reading stories to children it is important to involve the child by asking open ended questions such as “What do you think will happen next?” or “Was it right for Goldilocks to go into a house when nobody was home?” Spending time discussing the pictures and asking questions exposes children to complicated words and helps them to gain a deeper understanding of the story line.
If you are reading a story that is not in your home language, make sure that you have a discussion about the book in the language that your child is most fluent in so as to increase understanding.
When being read to children often become excited by new words like ‘disappeared’, ‘vanished’ or ‘pop’ take the time to stop and find out what your child’s understanding of the word is. Have fun repeating the word. Point out the word in the text and discuss if it is a long word with many letters or a short word with few letters.
In the early years, children sometimes have a favorite book that they want repeated again and again. Although reading same story can be tedious to adult, children are learning about the sequence of events. When children are familiar with a book they may be able to predict the words in the text which is valuable tool when learning to read.
By three or four years of age, children particularly boys, may become interested in information books. They love to learn and talk about the pictures. Books about dinosaurs or planets and atlases are a great way of increasing children’s knowledge and understanding of the world. Rather than reading all of the information provided, select interesting facts for discussion.
Having a lovely time sharing a book is a great way to end the day. Parent’s often make this part of their daily routine.
As well as children having plenty of exposure to books at home, it is important that a love of books is fostered at school. In all of the early year’s classrooms at BISS we have invested in comfy furniture which is invites children and adults to want to read stories together and in small groups. All children are read to frequently each day. Our learning environment is print rich with signs and symbols as well as poems displayed at the children’s level. This is another great way of installing a love of reading. We encourage children to share their interests with adults so that we can select books for the class libraries that stimulates the children’s love of books.
This academic year we have moved a library into a shared space in the Early Years. It has been great to see the children accessing the library frequently and parents taking time to read with their children.
Thank you very much to the parents who have volunteered to help out in the library with reading and sorting books. If you are able to give some time to support this area please do let us know.
Kate Hollins, Year Leader of Pre-Nursery and Nursery