Books are a uniquely portable magic. Reading is a portal to fantasy and imagination that makes your heart sing and your brain dance with delight. What greater gift to give a child than the gift of a shared story? At Kids College we are proud bookworms. Reading and literacy is embedded into our days and is part of the fabric of what we do everyday. Books are part of our classroom environment in every way. We run mat sessions is every age group throughout the day, books are accessible for children and we read bedtime stories at rest time every day. Reading aloud and sharing stories with children is a great way to spend time together. Reading and storytelling also helps promote language, literacy and brain development. Reading is like breathing in, writing is like breathing out. We invest in reading so we are setting the foundations for their journey to learn to write.
Why reading is important for babies and young children
- Sitting down with a book provides children with a time for quiet and calmness in their busy lives
- Stories can stimulate imagination and play
- Reading provides adults with more opportunities to bond with their children
- Stories provoke curiosity and discussion
- Books provides inspiration, thought and reflection
- Picture books help readers to develop an appreciation for art and writing
- Reading a variety of books exposes children to a wide range of language features and vocabulary
- Listening to stories assists in the development of literacy skills and language development
- Exposure to books contributes to the understanding of print concepts (eg. left to right, top to bottom)
- Books and stories fill a child’s mind with knowledge help your child get to know sounds, words and language, and develop early literacy skills
- learn to value books and stories
- spark your child’s imagination and stimulate curiosity
- help your child’s brain, social skills and communication skills develop
- help your child learn the difference between ‘real’ and ‘make-believe’
- help your child understand change and new or frightening events, and also the strong emotions that can go along with them.
Tips for building reading into your daily life
Sharing stories, talking and singing every day helps your child’s development in lots of ways. Sharing stories with your child doesn’t mean you have to read. Just by looking at books with your child, you can be a great storyteller and a good model for using language and books. Your child will learn by watching you hold a book the right way and seeing how you move through the book by gently turning the pages. Reading stories with children has benefits for grown-ups too. The special time you spend reading together promotes bonding and helps to build your relationship. Build all sorts of reading into your daily lives, read the cereal box, point out the road signs, read the shop signs as you walk through the mall, write lists and let your children scribble lists of their own. Simply become the narrator of your lives by expressly pointing out the every day literacy learning opportunities on offer.
How to motivate your child to love reading
Ages 0 to 2: Exploration Stage
“Literacy begins at birth,” says Mack Rogers, executive director of ABC Life Literacy Canada, a charitable organization devoted to improving literacy skills. “Children connect reading and writing with their first words, their first experiences and their first role models. You can’t start too early.”
At this stage, exploration is key, says Ruth Rumack, a literacy expert and the owner of academic support centre Ruth Rumack’s Learning Space in Toronto. “If they want to look at the book upside down, let them look at the book upside down. If they want to chew on it, let them chew on it. If your 15-month-old reaches out to turn the page before you’re finished, that’s OK,” she says. “It can be frustrating for parents who have their minds set on the idea that reading is sitting down and listening, but reading time should be flexible.”
To encourage interest, look for high-contrast, black-and-white board books (especially great for younger babies up to six months old) or bright colours and simple illustrations, and tactile elements like fuzzy sections, built-in squeakers or lift-the-flap books for toddlers. “The element of surprise is particularly exciting for this age group,” Rumack says.
Ages 3 to 5: Child’s Play
At this stage it’s all about phonological awareness—the pre-reading skills involving sounds. This is when kids learn about rhyming, blending (joining letter sounds to make a word), alliteration, segmenting (breaking words down into their composite sounds) and manipulating sounds within words—like understanding that swapping mfor c turns “mat” into “cat.” These fundamental skills can be hard to grasp, so introducing them through stories and play can keep kids from getting discouraged.
Choose books that engage kids with repetition and drama, Rumack says, like Robert Munsch’s Mortimer. Rogers agrees: “We’re naturally musical, so kids really engage with rhythm and song and rhyme. That’s why nursery rhymes and Dr. Seuss work so well.” Making play a part of reading time will also help. Have kids act out parts of the story themselves or with a puppet, or let your kid decide what a character should sound like and then have him do that voice when it’s that character’s turn to speak.
Quote from Kids College Philosophy
‘We aim to enhance the children’s understanding of the world around them through a developmentally appropriate program of activities rich with opportunities and information to spark a child’s imagination and curiosity.’
‘We aim to support children’s overall sense of wellbeing and increase their emotional intelligence through the love and dedication each of their own unique learning journeys’
1.2.1 Educators are deliberate, purposeful, and thoughtful in their decisions and actions.
5.1.1 Responsive and meaningful interactions build trusting relationships which engage and support each child to feel secure, confident and included.
KIDS COLLEGE FAMILY
At Kids College we work each day embedding our values and philosophy into each facet of what we do. We continually improve our practices by critically reflecting and engaging in meaningful relationships with our community and for this we need your support and input. Make sure to follow Kids College Childcare on facebook, watch for our regular emails and keep an eye on our Kids College website. Join our Kids College family community and share in our vision of creating the very best childcare where children experience love, laughter and learning every day. You can reach us on [email protected]
With love, laughter and learning from your friends in the
‘village it takes to raise a child’
Teacher Jen and the Kids College Childcare family