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Reading & Books



Research shows that reading aloud by parents is the single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading”.


Reading starts at birth. When your child is an infant, he is learning the sounds of words, which is the beginning of later reading skills. The more words your child hears now, the larger his vocabulary will be as a preschooler and as an adult. These words must be shared by a person, not an electronic device. 


In Ontario, it is estimated that one in ten preschool children has a communication delay. Reading with a child can help to prevent problems, since it stimulates speech and language development, as adults share new words and meanings. This provides an essential building block for success in school.


Carry small books in your diaper bag, so you always have one handy, whenever you have to wait in line or have a few minutes to spare.


Reading together as part of a bedtime routine is a wonderful way to relax, spend quality time together and encourage a love of reading. At bedtime, read from books rather than electronic reading devices. It is recommended to avoid viewing electronic screens for two hours before bedtime or it could be difficult to sleep.


During your child’s Enhanced *18-Month Well Baby Visit, your child will be given a board book.  


Some additional tips for reading to children of all ages:


Make reading fun for each age group:

Choose books that:

Babies like you to talk with enthusiasm and facial expressions. Talk with your baby…all day long.

• are small cloth or board books with single or rhyming words

• have simple pictures such as faces or animals   

One to two year olds want to learn how to hold a book and turn the pages. Keep books within your child’s reach.

• have rhyming  interactive features such as textures, holes, or flaps for lifting

• show pictures they can relate to and learn the words

Two to three year olds like you to ask questions and give them time to answer. Read and sing songs and rhymes with expression.

• encourage your child to predict what may happen next

• describe a series of events  

Three to four year olds like when you pause to let them fill in words and phrases. You can help by modeling correct sounds and grammar.

• longer books with more predictable and repetitive words

• have topics they are interested in and can relate to

Four to five year olds like to tell stories and will memorize words of favourite books. You can help by pointing to words and sounds at the start of the words.

• are easy enough to allow your child to build confidence

• use words such as first, then and last

Five to six year olds may like to hear you tell a story and then create their own version of the story. Help your child to choose a book to bring to every activity that may involve waiting, including shopping, appointments, etc.

• use more complex words such as before/after and  rough/smooth

• discuss numbers and quantity of objects, such as more/less and one/many

Six years and beyond like to read with you. Take turns reading alternate pages out loud. You can help by having a bedtime routine that involves reading together.        

• involve  topics the child is interested in

• share books from school and make reading fun


Additional Resources for Reading

Hanen Tips for Parents
OAFCCD Parent Tip Sheets
Family Literacy
Toronto Public Library book suggestions
Canadian Children’s Book Centre book suggestions
Reading Rockets
Parenting and Reading Resources in Many Languages
Niagara Speech Services Tips