Help your child become a lifelong reader

Being a mum of a sixteen-month old with another one along the way, I naturally want my kids to be avid readers. Reading has been a lifeline for me in many different ways — serving as both entertainment and education as well as constituting ‘therapy’ on many occasions. I would love for my children to gain the same benefits and pleasures out of reading that I have.

After observing my daughter’s engagement with books as a little baby and as a toddler for the last 16 months, this is what I discovered about reading during the early years:

BABY (0 — 12 months)

  1. Start early. Surround your little one with cute picture books in the form of stroller books, bath books or cloth books with different textures. They may not understand what these are — but they will be exposed to the concept early on.

TODDLERS (12–36 months)

  1. Create a reading space. My daughter Arianna has a little reading corner in her nursery that is filled with little picture books, a couple of blankets, and some musical toys that play nursery rhymes. Every morning after breakfast, her favourite thing to do is go through all the books and turn the pages as fast as she can. She may not be ‘reading’ but at least she is absorbing the pages with curiosity and has a goal in mind: to finish the book. A little reading space allows her to get comfortable and quickly reach for her favourite books. Sometimes the magic is in the spaces we create for our children.

POST-TODDLER (3 years +)

  1. Offer choices. Get your little one to choose between 2 different books. The act of choosing will get them to ‘own’ the book and they are more likely to be interested and engaged with it.

Do you have any tips for encouraging your little ones to become lifelong readers? Do share them below!

A big hello and thank you for reading! Passionate about literature, psychology, and life I launched Book Therapy as an alternative form of therapy using the power of literature. I create reading lists/personalised book prescriptions based on your individual needs, this is my signature personalised reading service. My book recommendations have featured in The Guardian, NBC News and Marie Claire. You can also check out Book Therapy’s other free reading lists and A- Z of book prescriptions (covering both fiction and non-fiction). These suggest books based on your existing life situation (e.g. anxiety, job change, relationship heartache) as well as interests (e.g memoir, historical fiction, non-fiction, crime etc). There’s also a Children’s A — Z of Book Prescriptions. Feel free to check out the blog for more literary gems. There’s also a post on my personal story of how I entered the world of bibliotherapy and book curation. And if you’d like to connect, email me at bijal@booktherapy.io or www.booktherapy.io.

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Book therapist, author, poet & founder of Book Therapy - therapy using the power of literature: https://www.booktherapy.io/ and www.bit.ly/bibliotherapycourse

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