Every mum and dad wants their baby to become a good reader or even a bookworm. We’ve been told time and again that if we read with our children when they’re small, they’ll do better at school. But it’s not just about sharing a story; how you store your baby’s books is key to them becoming confident, independent bookworms.
When you’re snuggling with your baby on your lap, the last thing you think about is him becoming an independent reader. But numerous scientific studies have shown that reading to babies, even before they can understand what you say, will improve their language and literacy skills, so sharing stories on your lap is the perfect way to do this. With lots of pointing and silly voices!
Once your baby is crawling, having books within easy reach is key to them becoming independent readers. When your baby thinks books are ‘hers’ she will love to explore them. What could be nicer than catching your baby leafing through a book ‘reading’?
Children who can choose what they want to read, are more likely to love reading, as this recent Canadian survey showed. And as we know, children with lots of books at home are 20% more likely to be graduates of the future.
So, what can you do?
Babies and toddlers adore the covers of picture books; it will entice them into opening up a story. Store books with the covers facing outwards so they can see all that gorgeous artwork. After all, they can’t read the spines. When your baby can see her books, she’ll be bringing you one after the other to read to her.
Whatever you choose needs to be baby and toddler proof. Encouraging their independence doesn’t mean inviting danger! Choose storage that has rounded corners and which can’t be tipped or toppled. Extra bonus points if you choose book storage that’s finished in safe and eco-friendly water lacquer.
You’re building your baby’s library for the future, so make it look enticing. A cardboard box is functional if you’re just starting out, but investing in a good looking, and child- friendly bookcase will mean you want to keep it for the long run, and you’ll be happy to have it around the house.
Put books somewhere where they can’t be missed. A portable book box means you can share a story in the living room, the kitchen or even the hall, not just in the kid’s bedroom. Then you’ll have a reminder to read with your baby, before he reminds you.
Your baby will be proud of their very own library. You could even personalise their bookcase. Kids who have books of their own are more likely to love reading. That bit of pride might just encourage them to tidy their books back into their bookcase too!
When your baby brings you a book from their own shelf, or sits down to browse a book, praise her and she’ll do it again and again. She’s growing in independence and building her own love of reading. And you’ll be ingraining a habit that will give your baby reading pleasure for the rest of his or her life.