What You Need to Know

Read with your baby and young child as often as you can, at least 10 minutes a day if possible. Even though your young child can't read yet, listening as you read and looking at the pictures helps his brain develop and get ready for future school success. Reading stories is a great way to build vocabulary and foster a close emotional bond too. Keep books in the car, diaper bag, and at home so you are always ready when the time is right to read.

Benefits of Reading With Young Children

Learning to read may seem easy if you are a good reader, but it is actually a tough task for lots of children. It makes big demands on the brain and requires a young child to think differently. By reading aloud from birth or even before, you are building a solid foundation, book by book, that will help your child succeed in school and in life. Just as important, you will foster a love of reading for pure enjoyment. Books bring us experiences from people, places, and times that we could never have directly. They help us see things differently, learn important information, and expand our knowledge.

Basic Skills Your Child Will Learn From Reading With You

As you read each day with your child, use this list to guide your questions and comments:

  • How to hold a book and turn pages
  • Differences between words and pictures
  • New vocabulary words
  • Understanding rhyming words
  • Different ways to think about common situations
  • Handling all kinds of feelings
  • Names and sounds of alphabet letters
  • Learning about story structure, such as beginning, middle, and end
  • Making predictions about what may happen
  • Seeing new possibilities
  • Making connections between the story and your child's life