6 ways to help your three-year-old love reading

By Dr Richard C. Woolfson   — August 02, 2019
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    To raise a reader, it is important to stimulate your child’s interest in books. Although she probably won’t learn to read until later on, your three- or four-year-old can still look at books, study the pictures on the pages and listen to the words you read to her.

    By involving her in these early literacy activities, you start to develop in her mind a strong association between reading and pleasure.

    (Also read: Why reading is more important than tuition classes)

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  • 2 / 8

    Even before formal reading starts to be taught in school, some four-year-olds develop early reading skills spontaneously.

    You may have already discovered that yours can identify road signs, shops signs and perhaps her own name, even though she has never had a reading lesson in her life.

    You can get your child interested in reading with these suggestions.

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  • Surround her with books
    3 / 8 Surround her with books

    The fact that she can’t yet read doesn’t make books any less fascinating for her. Your growing child likes to hold them and to study the drawings, paintings, or photographs contained in them.

    When you read a story to your child, point out the objects or people in the accompanying pictures at the appropriate places so that she understands the connection between the text and the drawings.

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  • Explain the book's main features
    4 / 8 Explain the book's main features

    Tell her the name of the story, and point to it on the front cover. Explain that you always read a story from the first page to last page, not the other way round, and show her the first page.

    In addition, discuss with her that each book is written by an author, then show her the author’s name on the front cover. As you read through the text, point to the words with your finger, so she learns the direction of print.

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  • Make reading fun
    5 / 8 Make reading fun

    You can achieve this by encouraging your child to snuggle up when you read to her. She likes the warmth and security of a loving cuddle from you during storytime, whether it is in the afternoon or at night before bed.

    If she has a favourite book, ask her to show it to you, as this encourages her to look closely at its cover in order to differentiate it from the others on the shelves.

    (Also read: Toddler doesn’t like reading? Here’s what you should do)

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  • Continue with poems, nursery rhymes and songs
    6 / 8 Continue with poems, nursery rhymes and songs

    Your four-year-old will be especially fascinated to discover that the words of her favourite song are written on a page, and again, this helps her understand that there is a connection between spoken language and written language. 

    The sooner she grasps the idea that reading isn’t an activity confined solely to the “big school” but is an everyday, pleasurable activity for everybody, the better.

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  • Use magazines, comics and newspapers
    7 / 8 Use magazines, comics and newspapers

    This also stimulates her early reading development. It’s good for her to see that the printed word appears in a variety of forms.

    Explain the story which accompanies any photographs, so that she sees the underlying purpose of reading material.

    She likes to cut out pictures from magazines and papers, then stick them into a blank jotter so that she makes up her own book.

    (Also read: 5 more ways to teach your child to love reading)

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  • Focus on “environmental” print
    8 / 8 Focus on “environmental” print

    Point to, say, a stop sign and ask your child to look out for one that is the same as that.

    You can use this technique with car number plates, too. Show her the first letter of a car number plate and ask her to find that same letter on another car’s number plate.

    She loves playing these games with you, and she’ll be very proud of her achievements.

    (Photos: 123RF.com) 


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