Good literacy habits go a long way. Reading aloud to the little ones early teaches a child about communication as well as introduces concepts such as stories, numbers, letters, colors, and shapes in a fun way to them.

The more that children are read to, the greater the gains for children’s vocabulary and cognitive ability.

In a research study headed by the National Scientific Council on the Developing Council and funded by Harvard University, it was found that by age 3 (when children begin to be interested in pre-reading activities), children who had been read to daily during the preceding two years had significantly elevated language and cognitive scores.

Forming Good Literacy Habits

Here are 5 ways to groom a bookworm baby:

1) Be a reader yourself!

Go back to being a reader. Rekindle the love for reading yourself. If you love to read then you are on your way to producing children who will love reading too. Read in front of your children and set the example for your children to start appreciating the value of reading.

2) Create a print-rich environment

Fill your home with books and reading materials. This can include books, newspapers, magazines, brochures. Make the reading process something that is part of recreation and day-to-day activities.

3) Make reading fun, fun, fun!

Animate, sing, play with puppets. The reading process should be inductive and amusing. It’s a great time for you to bond with your child and spend meaningful time together laughing and creating too.

4) Turn on the music!

The repetition, rhythm and rhyme in music actually helps reinforce the ideas and vocabulary that you are sharing with your child. Be silly with songs and you will be surprised that in the midst of all the giggling and singing, you are making a great impact on the language development of your child.

5) Play a game together

Make meaning in the reading process with your children. Read about butterflies then go play a game in the park and see who can spot a caterpillar or cocoon first? Or who can spot the letter ‘A’ today?

There is never too early a time to start the reading process with your child. Their minds are like a sponge and whilst they might not be ‘talking’ about the book with you, they are definitely absorbing the experiences that you have been giving them.

By Esther Lim, CEO and Founder of LEAP SchoolHouse.

Born and educated in Singapore, she holds a Master Degree in Education (NTU/NIE), Bachelor Degree in Arts (NTU), Diploma in Marketing – Top student for the year 2000 (Chartered Institute of Marketing). Esther has more than 10 years of teaching experience and has taught widely in both Secondary and Primary schools. She was also involved in curriculum planning and development work for the primary unit at MOE for several years. Esther has also conducted workshops and talks for educators, locally and overseas. Esther is also a mother of three children.

This article was first published in The New Age Parents e-magazine.

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