22 August 2017
This week is one of our favourites of the year – Book Week. We love books and what they can help your child achieve.
Reading to your child, whether they have a hearing loss or not, is extremely important. But why? There are great benefits of reading to your child, and below are just a few of these.
Strengthening your bond
Sitting down and sharing a book is great one on one time with your child. Make reading a special time to spend together. Also, if your child is hearing impaired having them on your lap means that you are closer to their microphones, giving them excellent auditory signals.
Children pick up so much, especially before the age of 5 years. The more words they can hear in this time, and in different contexts and stories, the more their personal vocabulary will develop. We wrote a little about this in a previous blog post.
There has been some great research that the more age appropriate books in the home, the more schooling a child will complete(1). In addition the University of Melbourne found that “reading to a child at age 4-5years every day has a significant positive effect on their reading and cognitive skills (i.e. language, literacy, numeracy and cognition) later in life”(2). The same study also showed that children read to more frequently scored higher on NAPLAN tests for reading and numeracy in year 3.
Dealing with new life milestones
There are books for probably every milestone or situation that your child might encounter in life (starting school, a new sibling, losing a loved one). Books can help children process these major times in their lives in a way that is non-threatening and easy to understand.
Help your child love reading
But wanting to have your child sit down and read with you isn’t always easy. While some children will naturally love to sit and read, or be read to, others find it difficult and just want to constantly move. So how to you develop a love of reading in your child?
Start reading to your child from birth. They won’t understand what you are saying, but not only will it help with listening and language development, but it will start a habit of reading, which will hopefully be easy to continue as the child grows.
Show them YOU love reading
Children love to copy their parents, and other important people in their lives. If they grow up surrounded by books and people who love to read, they will naturally want to do the same. Take the time to explain what you are reading and why you enjoy it.
Create a special reading spot
Have a space within your home that is special, and just for reading. It could be a fort, cosy corner, or go all out and theme the space depending on what you are going to read. We found a few on Pinterest, but you can probably think of many more!
Join the local library
This one is as much for your benefit as your child's. Although some children enjoy reading the same book over and over, as a parent, this can stop you getting as excited about reading to your child and stop you making every reading session fantastic! So, why not join the local library. Not only does it give you an endless supply of new books, but it also offers a special outing to choose new books and be engaged in the process of what you will read.
For Cora Barclay Centre clients we have our own library that you can borrow from any time.
Make reading an experience
Once you have read a book, undertake some activities together that go with the book. There are so many options for doing this, and, of course, Pinterest is going to be your best friend for ideas. Just search book activities! It might be as simple as dressing up as a character from the book.
You can also create book boxes to help your child re-tell the story using toys. For example, for the Three Little Pigs you can create a box with 3 pig toys, a wolf, some straw, some lolly sticks and some building blocks. You can then help your child re-create the story after you have read it. If you are a Cora Barclay Centre client we have a number of Book Boxes you can borrow – just talk to your therapist.
Also for our clients we have Book of the Month info sheets and books to borrow, as well as the opportunity to attend Talking Buddies which put much of the things we have mentioned today into practice.
If your child isn’t a big reader, perhaps take Book Week as a good time to start some new reading habits!
What’s your child’s favourite book?