We all know that reading to our children is an important part of their intellectual and emotional development. But why is this so? Parent and Child Magazine explains in an insightful article by Susan B. Neuman, a professor of childhood studies.
Reading is fun, stimulates the imagination, provides knowledge of the world and life, including problems and the solving of problems. Language development is also strengthened by hearing words being read aloud. Children who are read a variety of books on a daily basis also develop a sense of community, an understanding of “what it means to be human,” and to learn empathy as they are introduced to cultures and people that are different than their own.
The rest of the article on reading to kids can be viewed online, but the efficient and helpful “Choosing Books” break-down is not, so here you go!
Choosing Books by Age
birth – 1 year
Look for small, brightly colored books with photos of babies and familiar objects like balls and bottles. Draw attention to the objects by saying things like, “Look at the ball,” or point to pictures and ask, “What’s that?”
1 – 2 years
Look for sturdier books that can be handled and carried; few words on the pages or simple rhyming themes. Talk about the pictures — you don’t necessarily have to read the book to tell the story.
2 – 3 years
Look for silly or funny books with subjects like food, animals, or making friends. Simple word books are good choices. Keep stories short and read them with few interruptions. Then, re-read them.
3 – 4 years
Look for books that tell simple stories with a beginning, a middle, and end; stories that relate to life, like overcoming fear; information books about children’s interests. As you read ask your child questions about the story: “What do you think will happen next? Why?” Keep them engaged to improve their early literacy skills.
5 – 6 years
Look for stories and information books that evoke children’s lively imagination and interests; books about space, machines, time, and other cultures. Ask your child to tell you what interests her most about the story. Use open-ended questions to encourage her to relate her ideas. Allow her to ask questions as you read.
For some book recommendations by a Kindermusik educator, check out these lists from SoundSteps, an award-winning Kindermusik Maestro program in Dallas, TX:
Books to Read with Babies
Must-Read Books for Toddlers
Books for Big Kids
Shared by Theresa Case, whose Kindermusik program at Piano Central Studios in Greenville, SC, is proudly among the top 1% of Kindermusik programs worldwide.