As an avid reader and having the world opened up to me as a child I am keen to get my grandchildren immersed in literature as soon as possible. With so many video distractions vying for their attention I want them to experience the pleasure of a book before they get too cynical.
Research proves that children who enjoy reading do better at school in all subjects.
Reading together increases literacy skills and does so much more – it helps to build a strong and loving relationship between you. And it’s never too early to start reading with your grandchild!
Experts advise that it is never too soon to start their involvement. At just a few months of age, an infant can look at pictures, listen to your voice, and point to objects on cardboard pages.
Guide the child by pointing to the pictures, and say the names of the various objects. By drawing attention to pictures and associating words with both pictures and real-world objects, your grandchild will learn the importance of language.
Children learn to love the sound of language before they even notice the existence of printed words on a page. Reading books aloud stimulates their imagination and expands their comprehension of the world. It helps them develop language and listening skills and prepares them to understand the written word. When the rhythm and melody of language become a part of a child’s life, learning to read will become as natural as learning to walk and talk.
Even after children learn to read by themselves, it’s still important for you to read aloud together. By reading stories that are on their interest level, but beyond their reading level, you can stretch young readers’ understanding and motivate them to improve their skills.
Taking the time to read with your grandchildren on a regular basis sends an important message: Reading is worthwhile.
Children often want the same book and want it read over and over again. It may be tedious for you, remember that a favourite story may speak to your grandchild’s interests or emotional needs, so be patient. Continue to expose a child to a wealth of books and eventually they will be ready for more stories.
Having access to information through the printed word is an absolute necessity. Knowledge is power, and books are full of it. But reading is more than just a practical tool. Through books we can enrich our minds; we can also relax and enjoy some precious leisure moments.
With your help, children begin a lifelong relationship with the printed word, they can grow into adults who read easily and frequently whether for business, knowledge, or pleasure.
How to read with your grandchild
- Set aside some time and find somewhere quiet without any distractions – turn off the TV/radio/computer.
- Ask the child to choose a book as they are more likely to enjoy a book they have picked. It also shows you care what they think and that their opinion matters.
- Sit close together and encourage the child to hold the book and turn the pages.
- Point to the pictures If there are illustrations, relate them to something they know. Ask them to describe the characters or situation or what will happen next. Encourage them to tell you the story by looking at the pictures.
- Talking about the characters and their dilemmas helps children understand relationships and is an excellent way for you to get to know each other or discuss difficult issues. Give your child plenty of time to respond. Ask them what will happen next, how a character might be feeling, or how the book makes them feel.
- And lastly, above all – make it fun! It doesn’t matter how you read with a child, as long as you both enjoy the time together. Don’t be afraid to use funny voices: children love this!
- Get them into the library. Most libraries have story time for children and they can give advice and recommendations. Their stock of books is a treasure trove.
- Give them books to own and be able to read and enjoy on their own: a special present from Grandma or Grandpa.
I recently ordered some books from Ivy Press for my grandchildren to take as gifts when I next go to visit. To see their wide range of children’s books for all ages go to: www.ivypress.co.uk/type_of_book/childrens-publ/.
by Tina Foster, deputy editor