PG Charities

Early Literacy

Tips for Reading to Children

The first through fifth years of your children's lives are the time to prepare them to learn to read. You don't need to teach your children to read during these years, just simply read to them every day. This gives them a great start toward a lifelong love of reading.

Tips for success:

  • Choose a quiet spot.
  • Donít worry if you think you're not a good reader yourself.

If your child is under two years old:

  • Take him on your lap and open the book to a pretty picture. Don't be upset when your baby grabs the book and begins to chew on it. That's normal. But of course, you don't want the baby to eat the book. Try gently taking it out of the baby's fist. Put a small toy in each hand. Or hold the book just out of the baby's reach.
  • Turn the pages slowly. Say the names of a few of the things in the pictures.
  • Praise the child for trying a new word, even when he doesn't say it right.
  • Keep the book-sharing time short. Five minutes will probably be enough at first.
  • Look for books with pages of heavy cardboard or plastic.

For toddlers and preschoolers:

  • Try having a regular story-time.
  • Start with short sessions.
  • Choose nursery tales and stories about family life.
  • Let your child choose the book sometimes.
  • Make your reading fun by changing your voice for different parts.
  • Invite your listeners to join in.
  • Talk about the book with your children.
  • Don't worry if your child doesn't sit still while you read.
  • Ask others (grandparents, babysitters, big brother or sister) to read to your child.

For school-age children, don't stop reading when your child enters school.

Back to the Early Literacy page