Read all about it!

I can never stress enough to you, just how much I feel about the importance of reading to your child.

As a prep teacher, I was constantly amazed when children would start the school year and not even know how to hold a book up the right way, or know how to turn the pages correctly. I have been reading to my child since she was small baby. I will never forget how her eyes opened wide as I read to her and showed her the pictures. During tummy time I would set up books around her play mat so she could gaze at all of the bright colours, pictures and patterns.

I could almost see the neural pathways connecting in her tiny brain as she took in all of the new information in front of her.

Having that time with your child is such a beautiful way for you to strengthen your relationship. Cuddling up close, or lying on the bed together and sharing a special moment between just the two of you – it is just magical! Both my husband and I would (and still do) read to her every evening, as we established her nightly bed time routine. As she became older my heart would burst with pride, as she would choose books and lie on the mat reading to herself. She would point to the pictures and ask me to name them.

She learnt so much about the world around her, by looking at books. I learnt just how much she understood by asking her questions about things in the illustrations. “Can you see a cat?” I would ask, and sure enough she would find it eagerly on the page.

This once again supports the fact that young children’s brains are developing at such a rapid rate, but yet their ability to communicate does not always match up with what they actually understand. We are now at the point where she can actually sit and listen to a short story.

Don’t be annoyed by the fact that small children want to read the same books again and again. This is how they learn to read – by repetition. It can be frustrating for parents having to read the same book night after night.

Some creative ways to combat this are:

  • Often I just make up the words as we go. If the book is quite long, I just say a sentence about what is happening on the page
  • Have fun with it – use your silly voices to imitate the characters or what they might be saying
  • Look at the expressions on the characters face and talk about how they might be feeling
  • Try singing the words instead
  • Use puppets for entertainment or turning the pages
  • Look for objects in the illustrations and name them
  • Visit your local library and allow you children to choose their own books
  • Choose books you enjoy reading also

Five of my favourite books to read to children are:

1. Don’t let the pigeon drive the bus by Mo Willems- you will kill yourself laughing and so will your kids!

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2. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverton- you might need some tissues with this one!

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3. Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox & Julie Vivas- very thought provoking and leaves kids asking lots of questions.

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4. The things I love about you by Trace Moroney- get ready for a boost in self esteem building and lots of hugs for your child!

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5. We belong together by Todd Parr – because my daughter is adopted and we believe that all it takes to make a family is LOVE in your heart!

Often parents say to me that they don’t enjoy reading books.Instilling a love of reading comes from modelling to your child how to sit and enjoy a book, newspaper or magazine. It doesn’t matter what it is.

Sometimes on a rainy Sunday we all sit around reading. My husband reads the paper, and I love to read the design mags, and our daughter will choose a selection of books for herself.

Teaching your child how to sit on their own and read alone is a wonderful skill for them to have.

And let’s face it parents – who doesn’t enjoy a bit of peace and quiet every now and then.

Happy Reading everyone!

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  “Empowering families to create the right mix of chaos & love”

About the Author

Chrissie Davies

Chrissie Davies is an educator, author, speaker, child advocate, parent and founder of Chaos to Calm Consultancy. With more than twenty years of experience achieving positive, game-changing results for countless families under her belt she is a sought after presenter. Offering a fresh approach to understanding and raising children in a modern world, Chrissie is particularly passionate about creating happier and safer home and classroom environments.

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Chaos to Calm Consultancy would like to acknowledge the Wurundjeri and Boon Wurung people of the Kulin Nation.We acknowledge the elders past, present and emerging - particularly the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander parents who walked before us supporting and connecting their children to the earth, water and community. Always was. Always will be.

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