At Aurora Early Education, we begin laying the foundations for literacy early by helping our children become confident with oral communication and increasing phonological awareness through telling stories and singing songs. It’s important to begin literacy activities early as they ensure that children develop a love for reading and grow into confident communicators and readers. It also helps children be more excited and enthusiastic about reading.

Helping children develop a habit for reading is also something parents can do at home. It will foster a lifelong love for reading which will help your child in school, in their work and contribute to their all round development.

Here are some steps parents can take.

Create A Reading Routine

Children do well within routines; they help them feel secure and understand time management better. Create a routine for reading and your child will be encouraged to make reading a fun habit. Set aside a certain time each day to read to your little one  – many parents find that reading just before bedtime soothes their children. Having a special chair or particular snack during reading time also helps reinforce the routine.

As children grow older, reading will naturally become an integrated habit.

Modelling Reading Behaviour

It’s important for little children to see their parents display a love for reading. Children naturally learn by imitating their caregivers and, if you as a parent model reading behaviours, your little ones will also look forward to their reading time. One doesn’t necessarily have to tackle tomes of classic literature – even reading the newspaper or a magazine is modelling a reading habit!

Choosing The Right Books

Early childhood is a period of rapid changes, both physically and cognitively. As little children come to understand more about the world around them, their interests change. Young children, for instance are fascinated with the real world; even a simple story about a train ride will delight them. However, as they become a little older they look for fantasy elements and would love stories about superheroes or magic. Therefore, make conscious decisions when choosing books for your child. Here are a few tips.

For Birth to 2 Years:

  • Choose durable books; either board books made with cardboard or cloth books or plastic which are washable. This way, children can hold the books themselves which enhances their connection to them.
  • Choose sensory stimulating books with textures that children can feel or perhaps books with audio.
  • Chose visually heavy books with bright colours and short sentences. Stories told in rhyme or with sound words are fun for parents to read out loud.

For 3 – 5 Years:

  • Colourful books with more complex scenes and illustrations which will encourage children to look closely at the visuals.
  • Simple stories with quick plot progression and rhymes which children will enjoy reading out-loud.
  • Characters who the children can relate to; perhaps children their own age or animals.
  • Books with textures and pop ups.
  • Characters and situations from everyday life, which will encourage children to explore the world around them.

Australia has several wonderful children’s authors who write exciting stories with unique Australian references and activities that will resonate with children. Justine Clarke and Arthur Baysting’s ‘The Gobbledygook is Eating a Book’ is particularly fun for three year olds. Other authors and illustrators to look out for are Mem Fox, Alison Lester, Pamela Lofts and Marcia Vaugh.

Of course, it’s equally important to make sure your child has a collection which includes international books and authors to help teach them about diversity and tolerance. Speak with your educator at Aurora for some recommendations on books to chose!

Go To Events

The love for reading is nurtured at home but can also be enhanced by attending events. There are several libraries and centers across Melbourne that host read-alouds, story telling sessions, puppet shows and short plays which are designed to bring stories alive.

The Melbourne Library Service arranges a range of programs at libraries across Melbourne for toddlers; one can find more information here.

Through seeing stories come alive at these events, children will be able to understand the power of stories and imagination.