My friend Meghan (a Montessori teacher and parent) wrote this article that I want to share with you. It's about how to help your child develop a love of reading. The article is for young children for infants to toddlers, I couldn't help but to add a picture of Otis (now 5yrs) enjoying reading in his little book corner. I hope you enjoy, these ten tips are fantastic and a good reminder to all parents!
“Spend at least ten wildly happy minutes every single day reading aloud” – Reading Magic, Mem Fox.
The single most important thing you can do to help your child on their journey to mastery of language is to read to them every day. The Montessori approach gives you a chance to introduce your child to the joys of reading, so that the desire to learn how, is created in them right from the start. This preparation for reading helps your child to form the impression that reading is fun, useful, important work.
Reading aloud offers many benefits including the foundations of three essential pre-reading skills: phonological awareness (an understanding of the sounds that make up our language), a framework of knowledge (an understanding of how the world works and how things are related to each other), and a rich vocabulary (an understanding of how to use words to express meaning explicitly).
Maria Montessori said that children, once they have developed a love of books, “can go on to any limit guided by the single passion for reading.” She tells us that “the only language men ever speak perfectly is the one they learn in babyhood, when no one can teach them anything!”
So sharing a book with your baby should never be a lesson – you are sharing so much more than the words on the page. You are sharing a view of books as a wonderful and exciting journey to another place and time, and your enthusiasm for the experience is the most important lesson that can be given.
Ten things you can do...
1. We recommend reading at least three books every day. One that is a favourite, one that is familiar, and one that is new. Keeping your books organised into these categories will help you to see how your child’s love of reading is developing. Of course, if your child wants more than three books keep reading!
2. Set up a basket of books for your child to choose from – this is a neat way of letting them guide you in choosing the new books that you will read together.
3. Create an inviting space just for reading. Having a comfortable, well-lit and accessible place to read will help you and your child look forward to your daily reading times.
4. Try holding the books you read in different positions. Little babies may be more comfortable lying down, whilst older babies may like to sit up. Some babies are interested in turning the pages right from the start
5. Consider making a book about your baby – filling a small photo album with familiar pictures and a few words of text on the opposite page will be a firm favourite.
6. Make reading a part of your bedtime routine. There are so many wonderful books out there that are perfect for sweet dreams. (This one is a favourite).
7. Keep a mix of fiction and non-fiction books. The differences in style will become a natural point of interest for your child.
8. Don’t limit babies to board books. Most Infant Toddler Communities offer paper pages right from the start – kind of like learning to drink from a real glass, paper pages teach your baby how to handle books with care. Be consistent in modelling how to turn a paper page.
9. Model reading for your own enjoyment. If your child sees you reading for pleasure they will develop an appreciation for exploring books on their own. Children of readers are more likely to be readers themselves.
10. Try to choose books with illustrations that are accurate depictions of reality. Don’t limit your choices to books with photographs only – illustrations add a unique twist to the meaning you get from each book. Just try to stay away from flying elephants and talking teddy bears...your baby is relying on the experiences you provide for them to work out how their world works. Give them the proper tools to build this framework!