Reading to a baby in their first year can be disheartening!
It can be hard to maintain enthusiasm when your baby shows no interest in the story – and gives no indication this will change any time soon.
So if your motivation is flagging, here are 5 reasons why you should persist!
1. The absolute basics
It’s easy to forget but there are many things before reading that kids need to learn – for example:
- which way does the book go?
- how do you hold a book?
- how do you turn pages?
- what are words?
Look out for signs that your child is starting to develop these skills – your enthusiasm will soar!
A book that really helped my little daughter learn to turn pages is The Very Quiet Cricket by Eric Carle. This book emits an authentic cricket ‘chirp’ when the last page is turned. My daughter loved hearing this and eventually began turning to this page herself.
2. Habit formation
If you read a story to your child every day (or just as often as you get a chance) it will become part of your routine. The longer you wait before embedding this habit, the bigger the chance it will never happen!
Be on the lookout for pictures of items that your child will be familiar with.
Our baby loves birds and whenever we see one we point it out to her and she goes crazy with excitement. She has now started doing this with pictures of birds in books too – an indication of an incipient awareness that pictures tell a story and relate to real life.
No doubt as the months go by and she hears us emphasizing the ‘buh’ sound at the start of the word she will start to associate this sound with the letter b too.
4. Spoken words
Every word your little baby hears helps them on the journey towards speech. Reading sentences aloud to them is a valuable change to their usual sources of words of you and your partner speaking, television and you talking to them.
Reading is fun! As your child grows they will gain pleasure from a variety of different aspects of reading – and, with any luck will ultimately be captivated by the stories themselves.
People who go on to excel at reading and writing all share a love of reading – so the sooner you start your child on this journey the better!
Don’t be disappointed if for months your child does anything but look at the pages or listen to the words. It is all sinking in to their tiny, amazing brain! Keep going and you will be rewarded for your persistence many times over!