The mirac­u­lous learn­ing ad­van­tage you can give your child

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - NEWS - MONIQUE HORE

PAR­ENTS are be­ing told to read to their new­born ba­bies to in­crease their lit­er­acy skills later in life.

As­so­ciate Pro­fes­sor Pa­tri­cia Eadie said books and sto­ry­telling could be in­tro­duced to chil­dren as young as three months.

“Once a child or baby can be sit­ting and look­ing at things, there is no rea­son why that can’t be a board book,” she said. “The key thing is that it pro­vides a way of learn­ing and hear­ing new words.

“In the early years, it is all about build­ing a foun­da­tion. What par­ents do at home mat­ters a lot.”

Prof Eadie said there was a “strong re­la­tion­ship” be­tween the num­ber of times chil­dren were read to and their lit­er­acy skills later in life.

An Early Lan­guage In Vic­to­ria study found read­ing to young­sters re­sulted in bet­ter lit­er­acy and spell­ing. By age four, the read­ing skills of a child read to ev­ery day is a year ahead of those read to just twice a week. Those read to about three to five times a week were six months ahead.

Some of the best tips for read­ing to very young chil­dren in­clude: Trace your fin­ger un­der the word you are read­ing; de­scribe pic­tures you or your child touches, for ex­am­ple “look at that ...” or “you found a ...”; sit close so you can see your child’s eyes as they look at the book and; read books in a “con­ver­sa­tional” way.

As your chil­dren get older, the experience can be fur­ther ex­panded.

This can be done by ask­ing them to pre­dict what will hap­pen next, and ask­ing them what was their favourite part.

The Premier’s Read­ing Chal­lenge wants tots — and their par­ents — to hit the books years ahead of school.

Read to your child ev­ery day

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