Review by STACY DONG
READING TO YOUR BABY
Techniques That Bring Language Alive for Your Little Ones
By Alison L R Davies
Publisher: MPH Publishing
Reading to your children is an age-old bonding method that has been encouraged throughout times.
When parents and children share a book together, they often bond. The children enjoy the closeness and security that comes from the parents' voice and proximity, whereas the parents can spend the few precious minutes of quiet bliss that helps them to shut out the rest of the world and concentrate on their little ones.
There are many benefits to reading besides bonding. Regular reading helps children get used to books and forms a good reading habit for the years to come. Also, reading helps with the children's development, in terms of communication and literacy skills.
The author advocates that “it is never too early to start”, so parents are encouraged and are shown how to start reading to their unborn baby. Research has shown that the unborn baby does show reactions when they hear their parents' voice, so much so that the baby would show a sense of recognition to the parents' voice when they are first born. So, reading to the unborn child would be a great way to start the bonding process for both parents and children.
Reading to the unborn child for as little as five minutes in a calm and relaxed environment is all the expectant parents need to do. And the best thing is, the parents need not limit themselves to children's books; any book that the parents are currently reading works just as well.
In this book, the author shares the different techniques that would make reading and the language alive for little ones. It also makes it fun for the adults, too. You would find techniques such as painting pictures with words and employing facial expressions, hand gestures and the use of soft toys.
There are also suggestions on what books to choose and to read to/with the children at the different stages of the children's development throughout the book. And the author shares her tips on ways to encourage your child to engage with a story, using stories as teaching tools for “good” behaviour and teaching children to cope with the unexpected.
Most importantly, parents can find out how to make the reading experience enjoyable for the child, which would be key in enhancing development and encouraging the language of love as well as how to recognise the signs that signal your baby's engagement.
Stories are meant to be enjoyed and shared. The different tales are being told, passed on and developed into something new, which would give a unique flavour to the story. Hence, storytelling works really well in a group setting as it is flexible, interactive and fun for the kids involved.
Group storytelling could start for children as early as two to three years of age, as they are becoming more aware of their surroundings and are more keen to explore and experience. Group storytelling would allow them to participate, learn and widen their perceptions. In this particular chapter, parents would learn how to organise and run a successful group storytelling, how to keep the group engaged and the suggestions of books to kick start the group storytelling.
This book caught me by surprise. I expected a book that would emphasise giving your child a head start in reading so that he can excel in school. However, it turned out to be the complete opposite. The book reminds me that reading is not about “getting ahead”, but it is one of the best tools for bonding and how it opens up the world to your child.
One of the plus points about this book is that the guidelines given are not set in stone. They are merely guidelines to get parents started. So, parents would use them as is or adapt them to the different settings. The most important thing is to have fun with it and this will in turn rub off on your child as well.
This book is completely a pleasant and easy read. A definite thumbs up!