Read early and read often. The early years are critical to developing a lifelong love of reading. It’s never too soon to start reading to a child! Here are some easy reading tips to foster your child’s love of reading.

Read Together Every Day

Read to your child every day. Make this a time when the two of you can cuddle close together.  Bedtime is a good time for reading together and can become a nighttime ritual you both look forward to.

Give Everything a Name

Build comprehension skills early on by naming everything around you. Point to objects such as toys, household items, and things in nature.  Questions such as, “Where is your hand?” and “Where is Mommy’s (or Daddy’s) hand?” encourage this type of dialogue and help to build vocabulary. A large vocabulary has been shown to help reading comprehension and influence long-term reading success.

Read with Expression

Children love to hear stories and they especially love it when the adult uses different voices for different characters.  Have fun with the story and your child will have fun, too!

Pick Books That Will Hold Your Child’s Interest

Is your child fascinated with trucks, dinosaurs, or princesses? Look for books with characters and subjects they enjoy. This will increase their attention span and lead to a greater enjoyment of the story.

Know When to Stop

If your child loses interest while reading, put the book away for a while. Making reading time into a positive experience is more important than finishing the book or reading for a specific amount of time. Don’t make reading a chore; read to your child when they are interested.

Get Everyone Involved

Have different people (mom, dad, brothers, sisters, etc.) read stories to your child. This helps introduce variety for the child and shows that reading is important to everyone.

Be Interactive

How can you engage your child so he or she will actively listen to a story? Discuss what is happening in the book, point out pictures on the page, and answer your child’s questions. Ask questions of your own and listen to your child’s responses. This is known as dialogic reading. Simply put, it is having a conversation around the story. Research has shown that children who have been read to in this way are better readers once they begin school.

Read It Again and Again and Again

Your child will likely want to hear their favorite story over and over. Children learn from repetition. Though you may get bored with their favorite book, they will not. Go ahead and read the same book over and over. Research suggests that repeated readings help children develop language skills and print recognition.

Talk About Writing, Too

Draw your child’s attention to the way writing works. When looking at a book together, point out how we read from left to right and how words are separated by spaces. Point out words that are repeated so they can see how that word looks the same each time. This will help with letter and word recognition.

Emphasize Rhythms and Rhymes in Stories

Give your child a chance to repeat words and phrases that rhyme. Rhyming is important because it helps a child learn to listen for the smaller sounds and parts that make up words. This is a skill that a child will use to sound out words later in school. Rhyming by age four is a predictor in how easy it will be for a child to learn to read in the future.