One of the best things you can do is read picture books to your child.
As a parent you are your child’s first teacher and picture books are windows to different worlds outside of home.
Sharing books creates special bonding moments and gives comfort and security to a child as you both connect. If it’s bath, bed, book and sleep you have an established bedtime routine. A book can soothe a child who is unwell, upset, or out of routine.
Choose picture books that you love that match your child’s age and stage of development. Libraries are a wonderful place for a child to choose books and participate in story time sessions and it doesn’t cost anything. A home library allows books to be at little fingertips and then your child can choose the picture books they wish to read anytime. This gives a child a sense of empowerment and control in their world.
By reading to a child it allows their concentration span, listening and language skills to develop. Books foster eye development as a child looks and focuses. Fine motor skills are refined as a child points and page turns.
Whether in rhyme or prose, picture books show a child how language works, how sounds are strung together to make words and how words work together in sentences to create stories.
A child will point to words and mimic reading. This is one of the first stages in becoming a reader. A child knows to scan from left to right, where to page turn and gains new vocabulary. Your child will adore surprising you with the new words they’ve learnt.
Characters in picture books are real to young children and they will mimic characters and try new things they’ve learnt. They might fly in a rocket to space or build a zoo or bake a cake as their curiosity about the world is sparked.
Did you know that a child who has been read to is set up for much greater success later in life? Their vocabulary is much higher than a child who has never been read to. A young child’s mind is like a sponge and the optimum time they absorb things is when they are very young.
Reading picture books together means firm favourites will be imprinted into childhood memories forever and you will be a special part of them.
Australian picture book authors and illustrators are incredibly talented and there is a treasure trove of choices available from authors, libraries and book shops.
Karen Hendriks is an Australian picture book author. She will be hosting a series of talks about picture books with international award winning children’s author Michelle Worthington starting in February through Daisy Lane Publishing, see https://www.daisylanepublishing.com/.