Encouraging families to read and giving them the resources to read to their children every day is so important for a young child’s development and success in school. Reading to my children was one of my favorite things to do with them when they were young and even as they got older. I have fond memories of attending library story time as well as snuggling on the couch to read a good book. This is one of those times that parents can use to touch base with their child and maybe help them wind down for nap or bed. It doesn’t matter what time of day it is, finding a time to read in your routine is what is important.
Not only is reading an important skill for school but it also helps children with other developmental skills as well. Exposing children to books from birth is a great way to aid their development. Books not only aid literacy skills but they also help little fingers develop. As they learn to turn pages of a book, they strengthen their fingers and fine motor skills.
Often times parents think they have to read a book from beginning to end, not skipping any pages. However, research from the Attachment and Biobehavioral Catch Up (ABC) program at the University of Delaware, actually promotes following your child’s lead with reading and play. If a child is looking at or chewing on a book on their own that’s okay! Talk to them about what they are doing. If they bring you a book, allow them to turn the pages and talk to them about what is on the page. This can put the child in charge and allow them time to explore on their own terms which aids their social emotional development by making them feel important and that they can have an effect on their world.
While libraries are great and offer many programs to get children involved with books and reading, sometimes it’s nice to start building a library at home as well. Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library has been integral in getting books into the hands of children and their parents. Once you sign up, books are mailed to the child every month from birth to age five. They are sent directly to the child so it’s exciting for them to get mail and the books are age appropriate also. In Ellis and Barton County you can go to the website imaginationlibrary.com to sign up. There are also lots of tips about reading to your child on their website. Be sure and check it out!
Monique Koerner is the Family and Community Wellness Agent with K-State Research and Extension – Cottonwood District. You may reach her at: 785-628-9430 or [email protected] K-State Research & Extension is an equal opportunity provider and employer.