Sharing stories and reading books every day helps your child’s development in lots of ways. 
The importance of reading cannot be emphasised enough in young children, and we as parents need to make every day reading a high priority whether it’s reading a book at a play cafe or reading a book before bed. 
Many studies show that toddlers and pre-schoolers who are read to every day have a larger vocabulary than those who aren’t read to at all. Not only does reading enhance a child’s vocabulary and to help them understand how to read and write but reading aloud to children also helps them to understand different topics about the world and everyday life. 
Reading and sharing stories can: 
• Help your child get to know sounds, words and language. 
• Learn to value books and stories. 
• Help your child’s brain, social skills and communication skills develop. 
• Spark your child’s imagination and stimulate curiosity. 
• Help your child learn the difference between ‘real’ and ‘make-believe’. 
Daytime reading and night-time reading should be treated differently. Below we have put together a few tips for you. 
• Choose exciting stories to awaken your child’s imagination. 
• Choose different spots around the house to read a book, build a den, take a picnic blanket and go into the garden or sit in your playroom. 
• Dress up as the different characters in the book! Princesses, Knights, animals or Trolls, you can use props and costumes to make your book come alive! 
• Use instruments to make the different sounds in the book. Use a drum to make the stomping sound of the Gruffalo’s feet or a xylophone to make the sounds of a fairy’s wings fluttering. You don’t have to use instruments, anything around the house such as pots, pans or utensils will work well too! 
• Choose a book with songs or rhymes that you can perform to each other. 
• Choose calm stories that won’t over excite your child. 
• Snuggle up in bed or go to a quiet corner to read your books. 
• Dim the lights and get cosy! Once you’ve decided on a book, snuggle up together and get as comfy as you can! If your child is old enough, sit close together and get them to hold the book themselves or turn the pages. 
• Try to get your child into their pyjamas with teeth brushed before you start reading so they’re ready to drift off once you get to the end of the story. You can use the time you spend getting ready to talk about what you’re going to read together and what they think it will be about. That way they’ll be looking forward to the story and will know that it’s nearly time to settle down for sleep. 
• Read in a quieter, hushed voice but still be enthusiastic about the story you are reading. 
As parents, we need to prioritise reading in a child’s early years to help them to succeed later in life. 
“So please, oh PLEASE, we beg, we pray, Go throw your TV set away, and in its place, you can install, a lovely bookshelf on the wall.”  
— Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. 
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