The importance of stories for kids in their 3 developmental stages

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Reading to your child is one of the greatest gifts any parent can give.  Children whose parents read aloud to them every day are almost one year ahead of their same aged-peers who do not receive daily read alouds.    There is no question that parents should be reading to their children as young as possible – but what are the best reading strategies for each stage of a child’s development, and at what age should you start?

Read to me early: The Unborn Baby

From roughly 25 weeks, researchers have found that sounds outside the womb are clear to the child in utero (but are about 10 decibels lower).  These sounds are your baby’s connection to the outside world. There is no better way for a baby to get to know their parent’s voices than to be read a bedtime story.  Not only does this enhance your baby’s brain development, but the calmness associated with reading also reduces maternal stress and anxiety.  Here’s some tips on reading to your baby in utero:

Read to Engage: Baby and Toddler (0-2 years)

First of all, it is important to recognise that babies and toddlers are not developmentally ready to sit still for long periods of time. We should be guided by both their interests and their abilities.  Some gentle ways to enjoy reading and encourage early literacy are:

Reading is Magic: The Young Child (3-5 years)

The 3-5-year-old age group is a magical age in child development because they are now curious and fascinated with the world.  Their imagination is starting to develop, and books can provide them with a whole new universe to explore.  I think the most important reading strategy for this age group (especially with a new book) is to just read the book from beginning to end.

Sometimes parents get caught up in asking questions and pointing out important messages. That can interrupt the flow and the magic of the story gets lost.  In order to let children enjoy reading, sometimes it’s just best to get lost in the book.  Other strategies that you can use are:

No matter what reading strategy you engage in with your child, the most important thing to remember is to make it enjoyable.   Reading should be fun, interactive and a significant bonding experience for the whole family. The more that children love books, the more they will want to read, and the more they will want to learn.  Afterall, when you open a book to a child, you also open their mind and their heart!