It may seem odd to read to a child who can barely recite the alphabet, but reading to young children even before they can read themselves is crucial to development.
In fact, sharing stories with your little ones, talking and even singing helps to familiarise them with sounds, words, and language as a whole. Studies show that infants pick up languages much earlier than we realise, and that it is essential for children to be immersed in language to support brain development.
Reading is a great opportunity to do this. It exposes children to the concept of stories, helps them connect ideas to the pictures they see, and introduces them to vocabulary that they may not otherwise hear in everyday dialogue.
Reading often helps children learn categories, such as colours, animal names, plant names and household items, for example.
So how can you start reading to your preschooler?
Top Tips to Introduce Reading to Preschoolers
Build up a home library
Start buying age-appropriate books for your little one (and for yourself)!
Books for children should be easily accessible and within their reach, preferably with the covers facing forward, as children are more likely to pick books with the entire cover visible, rather than books with only spines visible.
Research has shown that book ownership has a significant impact on life outcomes. Children who reported that they had a book of their own were more engaged with reading and six times more likely to read above the level expected for their age than children who did not own a book.
Interestingly, simply owning more than 80 books saw literacy levels surging upwards.
Share books that you loved as a child
The good thing about children’s books is that they hardly ever go out of fashion.
Look for some of the good old classics that you read as a child – Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown, Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, or the Berenstain Bears series. There is nothing better than showing your child your joy and enthusiasm for these books that you loved when you were little.
Find books for your child that matches their interests
It may be easy for us to discount some of the things our children are interested in, especially if they do not align with our own interests. However, the best way to get a child keen on reading is to connect them with books they will enjoy because the content is personally engaging.
Whether your little one is keen on dinosaurs, ballerinas, astronomy or farm animals, chances are that you will be able to find a children’s book on the subject. Make use of our local libraries with their numerous branches and extensive children’s collections!
Use books to talk about complex subjects
Books can help broach topics or subjects you need help discussing with your children.
For example, there are countless books that talk about the first day of school, which you can use to help prepare your child for starting preschool in Singapore. By reading about it with you, your child will understand the purpose of school, and become more familiar with what they can expect in their own school experience – making it much less overwhelming.
Another difficult subject could be the impending birth of a new sibling. Reading about it with you can also give them with the language to express their feelings about it, and pave the way for them to ask questions.
Gift books to your little one
Books are an excellent, age-appropriate gift to give – not only to your own children, but to others, whether for birthdays, Christmas, or even special occasions such as graduation ceremonies, or even the milestone of moving from playgroup to preschool. This helps children understand the value of books even better.
At Kiddiwinkie Schoolhouse, we have various reading programmes tagged to the different levels: Author’s Universe (For Nursery to K2), Pic-a-Book (For Playgroup & Pre-Nursery), and Chinese Reading Programme (Nursery to K2). These fun, engaging programmes, which are tailored to suit each age group, provide ample opportunities for our children to develop their early reading skills – not just in English, but also in Chinese.
Looking for a preschool in Singapore that values reading?
Kiddiwinkie Schoolhouse has both infant care (at selected campuses) and preschool programmes.
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