How often do you read to your baby or toddler? One of the top difficulties I hear from parents about reading to their child is that their child “isn’t in to books”. That’s OK! What if I told you your child doesn’t have to sit and listen to you reading a story word for word to participate in literacy? Think of reading books as more of an experience for your child. Just as we introduce a new toy or game, we allow the child to play with it and get to know the activity before expecting them to play as intended. The same goes for books! Allow your child the chance to get to know books by exploring them, turning the pages, and discovering it in whatever way your child desires (even with his mouth!). Have a book or two you don’t mind being torn or chewed on. As your baby is playing with the book, you can be “reading” another book. And by reading, I mean, talking about the pictures, singing songs about something in the story, and using fun voices to engage your child in playful reading. As your child grows, develops, and understands your literacy routine, they’ll begin to interact more and more and will soon be reading to you! Instead of dreading book reading time with your busy tot, think of it as a literacy experience where your child has the opportunity to interact with books in a playful and meaningful way!
Kelli Lynch, MA, LSLS Cert AVEd Lead Early Intervention Specialist St. Joseph Institute for the Deaf