Gleaned from childcare professionals, here are some suggestions that will help you and your child get the most enjoyment out of reading together:
1. Try to make reading time a fun experience for you and your child. Choose a time for reading that is good for both of you. Don’ttry to “impose” reading time as though it were a daily duty or if you or your child are feeling tired.
2. Give your child your undivided attention while reading to him. If you have a voice mail for your telephone, use it. Also turn off the radio, computer and television.
3. Become aware of the kinds of books your child enjoys most. Consult his or her teacher, preschool, daycare, or child care professional for additional insights. A trip to the public library will also enable your child to know more about the various kinds of books available.
4. Encourage your child to make his own choice of books. Ask him what he likes about the books he chooses.
5. Involve your child as much as possible in what you are reading. Here are some suggestions:
• Point to pictures in the book as you say a word, or ask your child to point to objects he recognizes.
• Get him to join you, if possible, in reading recurring sentences. (“Run, run, as fast as you can. You can’t catch me, I’m the gingerbread man.”)
• Ask him open-ended questions about the story. (“What do you think will happen next?”)
• Help him to relate the story to his own experiences. (“Has that ever happened to you?” “What would you have done?)
6. Help your child develop a sense of sequencing in space and time. (“What happened first, second, next?”)
7. Relate the pace of your reading to your child’s interest in particular aspects of the story. Children often like to create their own “side-road” stories, becoming more fascinated with what happens along the way than with the story’s ending.
8. Let your child cuddle up beside you or sit in your lap while you read with your arm around his shoulder.
The warm, loving feelings you convey are as important to your child, and often even more important, than the content of the story.