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How to Read with your Child at Every Age

Once toddlers become preschoolers, they tend to show more interest in books and are often better able to listen to a whole story (and maybe start to recognize or read a few words!). At this age, reading becomes an even more fun, interactive activity that sparks creative thinking and curious imaginations.

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Reading with your preschool-aged child is an exciting, interactive activity. Preschoolers have lots of questions about the world, which means they are engaged and interested in what you are reading. With their ability to listen to a story longer and understand more, reading with preschoolers is a wonderful way to help them explore the wonderful world of books and stories.  

Tips for reading with your preschooler:
  • Encourage your child to choose books that he or she is interested in – whether it’s kittens or tractors!

  • Have your preschooler follow along while you read by moving your finger under the words as you read.

  • Have fun while reading! Continue to use voices and big gestures when you read – your preschooler can mimi your actions and play along too.

  • Pick a word or phrase that is repeated in the story and have your preschooler read the word or phrase every time it comes up in the story.

  • Encourage your preschooler to sound out simple words and phrases with you.

  • Ask your preschooler which character he or she likes best or what is going to happen next in the story.

  • Make up different endings to the story together. 

  • Do activities related to the book you just read. For example, encourage your child to draw pictures of the characters, or discuss the story with a friend or family member. You can even visit a place that was mentioned in the story, like a duck pond or a fire station.

  • Make reading a part of your daily routine so it becomes an everyday habit. Reading before bed is a great way to calm the body down and relax at the end of a busy day. It’s also a wonderful time to bond as a family.

  • Don’t have a book to read? No problem. Making up stories is as beneficial as reading, and your child will love it just the same.

QUICK TIP: Local public libraries often have free storytimes and reading activities for young children. Check your branch for a list of events and plan a trip with your preschooler. While you’re there, ask your librarian to issue your child a library card – it’s easy and free!

First 5 California
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First 5 California
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