Instill a Love of Books in Your Kids Early

Instill a Love of Books in Your Kids Early

Do you want to set your child up for a lifetime of successful education? Do you wish you could raise one of those kids that thinks staying up late reading is being rebellious? Then you need to start them off early, I mean really early. Sitting with your baby, looking through a book, letting baby look at the colors and shapes, and reading to them develops a love of books because your child will start associating the lovely bonding they have with their caregiver to be with books as well.

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Your Child's Eye Development

For Babies

Reading with babies is extremely helpful in developing babies eyes and the visual parts of their brain. Seeing the different colors helps their brain learn and decipher between them. Having the book in front of them also helps them learn to point and grab different things that interest them. Reading the words aloud demonstrates the different sounds that baby can start copying, thus developing their ability to speak.

Until 4 months old, babies eyes see things the best if they are 8 to 10 inches away. A lot of visual development happens during this time. They can focus their eyes best starting at 8 weeks old though their eyes are still not very coordinated and may wander or cross some. Around 3 months, babies can start to follow moving objects with their eyes and reach for objects that are close enough for them to grab and even things farther away (baby can't tell that yet, it's ok).

At 5 months, babies start to develop depth perception eliminating the problem of grabbing for things that are too far away. This means that can see the world in 3D as well as tell how far away something is. At this age, they also start to be able to tell highly contrasted colors apart (not as well as adults, but we won't hold that against them.) When baby starts crawling, their hand-eye coordination begins to develop more as well helping them be able to grab at things at point in a specific direction.

Between 9 and 12 months, baby's hand-eye coordination is well developed so they will be able to point at certain things on a book page that attract their attention. They can also grab a specific book if they want to and even hold it themselves (maybe you'll be able to get a cute picture of baby holding a book and looking like they're reading it.)  Reading is important for helping babies eyes develop and grow an attachment and interest in books and their caregivers.

For Younger Children

By 2 years old, your child should have a well-developed depth perception and hand-eye coordination. This is the age when they'll start recognizing shapes, colors, and characters. Reading at this age is a great way to strengthen their speaking, perception, understanding, and identification abilities. Reading is important for babies but this is the age where a love and interest of books begins developing. Children growing an interest in books at a young age is when the magic happens, both literally and figuratively. This is the point when you can start developing a child who loves to read and isn't bored in school. This is also the age when all those books are new and magical to them.

For Older Children

At age 6, children need to have a fully developed eyesight as well as an understanding of what they are seeing. They also should have built up an interest in school and reading by now to grow as a student and as a learner. This is the point when learning will be taken into their own hands and having an interest in reading and learning from reading will be the most important and start a lifelong love of reading.

What To Do When Reading With Your Child

Get Ready

  • Sit with your child (if they're very little, bring them onto your lap for a closer look).
  • Spend enough time on each page, don't race through.
  • While reading, use expressive phrases and different tones of voice.
  • While your child is reading, sit back and listen. Let them try the hard words. It's the only way they'll learn what to do with other hard words they come across. Help them after they've tried helping them pronounce the syllables and define the word for them.

Try to See It Through Their Eyes

  • Don't judge. They're new to this, even if you think they "should know this word by now".
  • Enjoy the book along with them.

Get a Variety of Books to Choose From

  • For younger children, get an assortment of picture books, poems, and kids magazine articles.
  • For older children, give them a choice of chapter books on a variety of topics.
  • The library is a great place to give your child an assortment of books to choose from if you don't have a collection at home.

Talk it Over

  • Take time to discuss what's happening in the book and on each page. If your child wants to stop and ask a question or talk about something that happened in the book, let them. This shows that they're understanding is growing.
  • Talk about your thoughts and ask questions to help your child see the mental process of an experienced reader.
  • Talk about what has just happened in the book, how you both feel about it, and what you both think will happen.

Ask Questions

  • This is a fun book. What do you think is going to happen next?
  • This character is my favorite because [give a reason why]. Who is your favorite? Why do you like them?
  • He did that? Why did he do that? Would you have done it that way?
  • What would you do if you were in the story right now?
  • What do you think that means?
  • Does this remind you of when we...?
  • Do you think that was the right thing to do?
  • Did you notice this [item in the background]? Why do you think that's there? Do you think that's part of the story? Do you think that will be part of the story at some point?
  • [For chapter books] Do you remember what happened in the last chapter? Can yo remind me?

Starting a child off early with a love of reading can work wonders to help that child grow to love reading and to read well. The more interest and attention a child has in reading, the more they will take away from reading for school and fun. If they're enjoying reading, then schoolwork won't feel like a task. They'll do better in school and enjoy it more. Doesn't that sound great? Having a child who actually likes school and likes learning!


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