Storytime is a critical foundational step for developing strong family bonds. However, this fun activity helps foster much more than healthy relationships. It helps instill lifelong skills and passions that children of all ages will carry with them well into adulthood.
Featured below are tips on how to encourage the love of reading and writing to the little ones in your life.
Babies and Toddlers
As you read, babies and toddlers learn literacy skills from hearing your sounds and words. Reading also stimulates active imaginations, promotes concentration skills, and builds emotional awareness.
Babies up to Two Years Old
Little ones in this age group benefit from touch, feel, and believe it or not, taste. Keeping their attention requires patience, but the smiles and giggles you will experience are well worth the price of admission.
- Start with 5-10 minute reading sessions, just to get your child acclimated.
- Hold your child in your lap, and be prepared for him/her to reach for the book. He/she may try to bite the book, but this is just a normal part of the exploration process. If you are concerned about this, you can always provide toys for your child to hold.
- Books that rhyme or include songs work well because they excite and entertain.
- Remember that the pictures matter. Books with bold and colorful illustrations will help your child focus.
- Point to fun illustrations, and allow your child to absorb the colors and shapes.
- Sturdy books are key for this age group. Board books and hardcovers not only last longer, they can be a go-to toy for your child to play with on his/her own.
Two and Three Year Olds
- By this point, your child has become used to reading time. Setting a consistent storytime will help build the joy of reading.
- Toys like stuffed animals or finger puppets can add an interactive element.
- Let your child choose which book(s) to read. This is a great way to find out which topics and themes your child enjoys most.
- Keep it simple. Books with short sentences will help your child continue to improve communication skills.
The Empowering Kids With Character Team is dedicated to encouraging strong, positive character traits in children – for that reason, we have developed The Ultimate Character Book List. It’s a FREE book list filled with 101 books that we recommend and endorse for young readers (and those that love to be read to!).
Early and Seasoned Readers
Reading to children in this age group helps expand comprehension skills, ultimately setting your child up for academic success.
Four to Six Years Old
- Introduce your child to the library by getting him/her a library card.
- Pick out books together that feature longer sentences, more vocabulary, and more detailed illustrations.
- Keep the books in a place where your child can access them easily in case he/she tries to read alone.
- Team up on tasks like organizing rooms/closets, measuring for cooking, counting, and planning grocery lists.
- Let your child explore his/her imagination by completing dot-to-dot books, puzzle books, or by simply drawing on paper.
Seven Years Old and Up
- Your child should now have passions around specific genres like fiction or comics. Empower him/her to choose the best fit.
- Reading aloud may seem unnecessary for seasoned readers, so think about silent reading times as a new option for your family. You can even have family book clubs where you each read the book on your own then come together to discuss it on a consistent day/time.
- Sources like summer reading clubs and online book clubs will help your child get involved in more social activities beyond your home. Your child may even be an emerging leader who starts his/her own book club!
Don’t forget to download the FREE Ultimate Character Book List. The list contains 101 books that encourages kids the love of reading!
More About Author Grace Estle
Grace Estle is a brand marketer, singer, sugar cookie decorator, and lifelong storyteller from two worlds: the Philippines and the U.S. She comes to life when she can spread joy through her art. Her picture book, “Chandler the Crocodile,” emerged from her struggle as the only Asian American in her elementary class. Through this writing process, Grace discovered her passion for helping children overcome adversity and soothed her own heart. Learn more about Grace and her book today at graceestle.com.