Before the age of six, children have the ability to learn at a faster rate than they will at any other time in their lives. Talking, singing and reading to your child will have a significant influence on their brain development, and connections form as a direct result of this kind of stimulation. For babies, it’s not just about reading the words – the bright colours, simple images and their parents’ soothing voice all provide suitable stimulation. Colourful sticker books are particularly ideal for toddlers and pre-schoolers.
Countless studies have shown that strong oral language skills set children up for literacy development. Knowing how words and sentences work will also help children grasp the concepts of other subjects, including maths and science. It is said that early readers don’t just become lifelong readers, but also lifelong learners. By listening to you read The Gruffalo, for example, with its rhythmic and lyrical words, your child is learning the basic sounds that form language. You could also make reading and learning fun with a magnetic word book from Learn to Read – particularly relevant because it uses words that your child will learn during their first years at school.
Not only a joyful and intimate bonding activity for you and your child, reading can fit effortlessly into your child’s routine, offering endless worlds, stories and characters to explore together. The activity of sitting still together and focusing on the pictures, words and sounds will help lengthen your child’s attention span which is critical for helping them concentrate at school. As well as this, the regular routine and concentration required will reinforce self-discipline, whilst the questions and discussions you can bring into story time are thought to enhance memory retention. These valuable skills are important to instil early on to give your child the best chance of success in the classroom, and adjusting them to the expectations and skills involved with reading from the earliest opportunity is the best preparation you can do before your little one starts school. Ensure reading is fun and stimulating to motivate your child to keep reading with adventurous and beautifully illustrated books. We’ve also put together a pre-school bundle with 10 of our favourite reads to enjoy with your pre-schooler to help keep their joy for reading growing.
Children who enjoy reading from a young age not only have an increased attention span, but they also tend to be more creative, curious and imaginative. Early readers are also likely to become more logical thinkers because of their ability to grasp concepts, recognise cause and effect, apply logic to different scenarios and use good judgement. As a result of this knowledge and awareness, early readers are also usually more confident and independent. Julia Donaldson’s books are perfect for practising phonics, and with the Oxford Reading Tree ‘Songbirds’ you get 12 stories in one.
Carry on exploring imaginative new stories, rhymes and games with your little one to encourage their development and instill the skills required to get a good start at school. Take a look at our range of books for babies and pre-schoolers for more inspiration and ideas to keep your child learning.