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World Book Day!

It is never too early to start reading books to your children; in fact research insists we talk to our babies before they have even been born so it gives us a perfect excuse while pregnant to put your feet up and read aloud from your current novel!

My fondest memories as a young child are pulling a book from the shelf, sitting snuggled with my dad on the sofa, while he read them to me. We would talk about the pictures for what felt like hours, I remember him making me feel part of the book, we would get right into the story! Getting older he taught me respect for my books and a passion for a range of literature. I now take great pleasure watching my children use books for enjoyment or research and supporting them in finding stories they love or recreating scenes from the pages with their toys or crafts.

As a baby’s vision develops they will stare at faces and will turn towards familiar voices. From about three months old their eyes start to move in unison and they are able to focus on objects of interest in front of them.  At this young age they will enjoy hearing your voice and looking at the often brightly coloured or vastly contrasting pictures. While you will not be reading to your baby to share the plot of a book you will be stimulating their senses and exposing them to the sounds within your native language, they will associate books with being close to you, feeling your heartbeat, smelling your scent and listening to your voice. Remember at this stage babies like to take everything to their mouths so we recommend using board, cloth or bath books.

Sharing books with children not only develops the obvious language and listening skills but also supports with building a stronger relationship between you and your children, as your child grows older they will constantly be on the move, playing and exploring their environment. Snuggled up with a book lets you slow down and recapture the sweet, cuddly time you enjoyed when they were babies! It develops logical thinking and imagination as you expose them to situations or experiences that are new to them.  It enhances concentration and gives them the basic skills needed to read – reading left to right/front to back (in this country!) and turning the pages at the end of the text.

As toddlers, children enjoy being involved in reading the books, lifting the flaps or touching the textures built on the pages. Books like ‘Spot’ by Eric Hill or ‘Dear Zoo’ by Rod Campbell are old favourites and the vast ‘That’s not my…..’ range by Fiona Watt and Rachel Wells, are hugely popular, to mention just a few that offer not only the physical interaction but the repetitive theme that children love!

Books should be part of your everyday life. An article written in the Telegraph (September 2012) by Anita Singh quotes Charlie Higson (author) who asks how we can expect our children to enjoy and read books if they never see their parents doing it. Having a bed time story is the usual ritual many families introduce. Research has shown this encourages a developed bed time routine and sets the stage for relaxed quiet time leading to a more restful night’s sleep. Experts say sharing a book for 20 minutes a day builds a firm foundation for future learning.

Children love to explore the story and talk about the pages as well as what is being read to them using different voices or expression. They enjoy making up stories and having familiar characters within them. We love creating our own books with photos or things collected from a holiday or day trip to re tell our experiences.

As children get older they enjoy appropriate humour in their stories which is why ‘aliens in underpants’ by Claire Freedman and Ben Cort is so popular. Old favourites written by Jill Murphy; ‘Peace at last’ or the trials and tribulations of the Large family with ‘A piece of cake’ or ‘Five minutes peace’ are still firm favourites and newer books such as ‘Shark in the Park’ by Nick Sharratt or ‘I love you Blue Kangaroo’ by Emma Chichester Clark are coming in thick and fast.

Sitting in front of my children’s book shelf I can see my favourites as well as my children’s, you know the ones? It’s those we have to read night after night after night, the ones they never tire of!! Can you remember your favourite book from when you were young? Have you shared it with your children?

On 7th March it’s World Book Day, we have a limited number of the £1 book vouchers to give out and will be celebrating with our children. http://www.worldbookday.com/ Don’t forget to use your local library too, they often have story or rhyme times you can take part in.

Membership is free and on a child card you can get up to 20 books out at a time with no late penalty!

Happy reading!

Posted on 06/03/2013 in Nursery News