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Reading to Your Child

Rachel McGuffey, MD, Lexington Clinic Pediatrics

Board books are a good choice for young children.  Your child can explore these books with his hands and mouth, learning to turn the easily grasped pages.  Later, you can progress to longer picture books, and in elementary school to some of the chapter books.

 Children learn through repetition, so don’t be afraid to read the same books over and over.  As you read them more, the child can chime in and learn some of the stories before she can actually read the words.

 In addition to the importance of reading for vocabulary enhancement, reading also allows a time for you to be close to your child and feel connected.  It is a good way to help children learn to go to sleep at night since you can snuggle with them and make them feel secure.

 Many libraries offer storytimes and reading activities for children.  This allows you to get your children excited about reading and gives time to go to the library to check out books on a regular basis.  The librarians can help recommend books that are appropriate lengths for you and your child.

 Whether your child is in school and learning to read or just an infant, reading to and with your child is an important building block for communication.  So, start early, read often and help your child grow.

Reading to your child is an important building block for future learning.  By the time your child is in kindergarten, she needs to know around ten thousand words to become a successful reader.  You are your child’s most important teacher.


The best time to begin reading to your child is when he is an infant.  Babies learn language through being spoken to, read to, and sung to.  Reading helps introduce colors, shapes and letters, as well as teaching children about listening and memory.  It also helps introduce emotions and expressions with which they will learn about communication.

 In infancy, reading a few minutes at a time a few times a day is best.  As your child grows, you can lengthen this time.  An hour of reading daily can result in a vocabulary increase of eight to ten thousand words.