Reading to children can seem futile... 'Are they even listening?' 'Stop ripping the pages!' 'They just want to look at the pictures'... are sentences that have come out of our mouths too, you can be assured. But getting kids interested in books is really important and it's a lot easier when you understand how to cater for their age. Here's our guide to help make them life-long bookworms from day dot.
BEFORE THEY ARE HERE
Reading to bump
There's evidence that reading to your growing babe while they are still in utero can help with their development. A 2013 study by the University of Washington in Seattle found babies who were read to in the womb were able to differentiate between their mum’s voice and others around them. So, if you’re on board, give it a try. Pick a kids’ classic, give your bump a rub and feel those little kicks that say 'Keep reading, I'm listening!' Cute!
It’s never too early for your little one to enjoy reading, although for this age it's less about the words and more about the visuals. It's a fact that newborns engage with black and white geometric shapes so start with choices featuring these to get them hooked. Wee Gallery creates soft books and high-contrast cards perfect for this stage, which just so happen to be great for baby sensory sessions. Lay them out on the floor during tummy time, prop them up while they are chilling in their chair or even take them out on journeys in the pram for some reading and sensory fun on-the-go.
Black and white books and cards will see you through a good few months, but when they've mastered focusing, they’ll be keen to look at colour as well. At this age, paper books are still out of bounds, so invest in some soft books, which they can chew and tug at to their heart’s delight. Then, when you can finally prize it out of their hands, read it to them. Designs by Kalo and Taf Toys have ties and loops so you can fasten them on to the pram, car seat or bouncer ready for little readers to take a look when they have the urge.
THE TODDLER YEARS
Toddlers love to act out (and act up, but we aren't talking about that right now!) So use role play to get them interested in reading and keep coming back for more. Got a book with an animal in it? Make up a story sack with a mini plushie that will have them acting out the story even as the final page is turned. Alternatively you can pick up a book with flaps or fingerplay that harnesses toddler's energy for good. This set by Thames & Hudson folds out to become three bear masks, perfect for setting off those imaginations and making them realise that books are awesome.
PRE-SCHOOLERS AND BEYOND
We know what it's like at the end of the day, the mayhem of the bedtime routine is finally coming to an end and you just want to tuck them in and go have your tiny slice of peace... but five minutes of reading does them (and you, believe it or not!) a world of good. Start giving them the freedom at this stage to pick a story book and then snuggle in bed or a reading nook for five minutes. Bookspeed's innovative titles with irresistible graphics are just right for some pre-bed time, non-preachy learning.
Because we are kind, we've put together gift guides for every section of our site, to help you make the right choices when it comes to buying for your little ones and gifts for others too. Hope you enjoy 🎁