Books are an important staple in any household with babies or toddlers. They provide so much support for learning--and not just learning to read. In fact, from 0-3, you should NOT be concerned AT ALL with your child developing reading skills. Their brains simply aren’t ready for that yet. However, at this age, reading together is still very important, for several reasons.
Bonding. When you sit down and read with your child uninterrupted, you are sharing a very special time together. No phones, no chores. Just a few minutes of enjoying a story, having conversations, and snuggling. For a child who is under 3, and working to develop or maintain a secure attachment with their parents, this is everything.
Language Development. When you read to your child, they begin to recognize words that they’ve heard before, and then begin to try to pronounce them = they are developing language. Children as early as approximately 10-12 months old will try to communicate with you verbally in meaningful ways. They'll use basic, easy words like “mama” or “dada” to identify their parents, along with using other communication tools (like trying to repeat a word).
Fine Motor Skills. What are fine motor skills? They are skills that require the usage of the small muscles in the hands, in combination with hand-eye coordination. Holding a book and learning to turn the “pages” is very helpful in developing the fine motor skills needed for more advanced tasks like spoon feeding, crayon holding, and more.
Book Handling: With the repetitive activity of reading, children will begin to learn book handling skills over time. Things like reading from left to right (in english), starting at the cover, turning the pages to see and hear more, and understanding that pictures have meaning. These skills will become second nature.
Love of Reading: By incorporating books as a daily object in your daily lives, and reading as a daily activity, you are instilling a love of reading in your child. This is powerful. Because when the time comes to learn to read, they will have the positive foundation in place to push through any struggles that may arise. And a lifelong love of reading is a wonderful gift to give to your child.
Parenting is awesome. Sleep is overrated. Every day is an adventure.
Meet Our KeaMommy Contributor: Amanda
Amanda Dixon is a mother of three young children and has her master’s degree in early childhood education. She spends her days homeschooling her kiddos, freelance writing and teaching college. Her favorite things are a good cuppa tea, chocolate chip cookies, books, and her 3 dachshunds.