Friday, 17 October 2014

Reading in the early years – inspiring a love of books and reading

IMG_0165It’s a long time since I’ve blogged about young children’s reading. I’ve been thinking about the topic because I’ve been getting lots of requests for training on reading in the early years recently. (By reading in the early years, I most certainly do not mean trying to make children into decoders at the age of 3 or 4. I mean helping children towards a love of books and the spoken and written word.)

I stress the spoken word because we know that without a strong grounding in speaking and listening it is almost impossible for children to thrive with reading. I find it unbearably sad that that very many babies and young children don’t receive the one-to-one interactions they need for language development. Just have a look at this to see that talking to babies matters. The Talk to Your Baby site is a great source of information. Universally Speaking has very useful information on how and when young children develop language skills between birth and 5.

Reading to children is the most powerful thing any parent or carer – or indeed early years practitioner – can do to develop a love of reading. ‘Children are made readers on the laps of their parents’, in the words of Emilie Buchwald. US paediatricians are having a huge push on reading to young children. They say reading to babies and children ‘helps immunise them against illiteracy’. Net Mums have produced some top tips for reading with 2 year olds and with 3 year-olds. Routes to Reading is another useful source of video clips and good ideas. Bookstart has loads of strategies for inspiring a love of books.

For anyone looking for a good source of inclusive books for early years (and older) children, I can’t recommend Letterbox Library highly enough.

The last few years have seen an enormous growth in e-reading resources for young children. These are all interesting discussions on the issue: