Reading aloud and sharing stories with your child is one of the most important and enjoyable things you can do together. If you’re not sure what or how to start reading with your pre-schooler, here are some ideas.
Why reading with your pre-schooler is important
Sharing stories, talking and singing every day helps your child’s development in many ways.
You’re getting your child familiar with sounds, words, language and, eventually, the value and joy of books. This all builds your child’s early literacy skills, like the ability to listen to and understand words. It also helps her go on to read successfully later in childhood.
Reading stories stimulates your child’s imagination and helps him learn about the world around him. It’s also a great time for you to bond with your child and share time together.
You can start reading to your child as early as you like – the earlier the better. Our articles on
reading and storytelling with children and
developing literacy have more information to get you and your child started.
Sharing books with your pre-schooler
At this age and stage, reading with your child is all about spending special time together, and having fun by enjoying the language and illustrations in picture books. Here are some tips that can help you and your pre-schooler make the most of your reading time.
Looking at the book
Before you start, ask your child some questions about the book:
Reading the story
Looking at letters, words and punctuation
Other reading activities
General tips for budding readers
When your child sees you reading and writing, you’re creating a home environment that helps develop literacy skills. Your reading and writing can be as simple as reading magazines or newspapers and writing shopping lists or messages for your spouse or children.
What to read with your child
There are so many books to choose from that it can be hard to know where to start.
As a broad rule, young children often enjoy books that have good rhyme, rhythm and repetition. In fact, one of the ways that children learn is through repetition and rhyme.
In the pre-school years (ages 3-5 years), your child might especially enjoy:
If your child is attending child care, kindergarten or pre-school, it might be helpful for you to talk to his teachers or caregivers to get some ideas about how they read with the children. Some pre-schools allow children to borrow books each week or to bring a special book from home to share with the group.
Here are some books for you and your pre-schooler to explore and you can also check the availability of these books from the National Library:
Why not visit your public library? It’s free to join and borrow. The staff will be able to recommend books for you and your child to enjoy.
Video: Telling stories with children
Watch this video to learn about the importance of storytelling, and how you can get your child involved in the stories that you tell.