Reading Tip: Giving your child independent access to books

Do your children have full access to the books in your home or are the books kept under lock and key?

Why don’t you set up a ‘little bookcase’ in your own home (If you haven’t already!)?

If you don’t have a little bookcase, you could try filling a low cupboard with books. Books in a small box, basket or magazine rack could also work.

If you have a small child who is not yet sitting, you might like to add some cloth books to their collection of toys. For older children you could add a variety of text types to the bookcase, such as magazines, newspapers and cookbooks.

Keep in mind that small children do lack fine motor skills and the notion of treating a book with care. There may be a casualty (i.e. a ripped page), so choose the books for your bookcase wisely. You might want to make sure they are durable (eg. cloth or board books). I suggest that you keep any special books in a safe place for shared reading experiences.

My Little Bookcase is a strong advocate for reading aloud and sharing books with children, however, there are also times for personal exploration of books. Providing children with the freedom to personally explore books is a rich book experience that will contribute to their pre-reading development:

-It can provide children with a different experience of books

-It gives them the opportunity to find objects in illustrations that they recognise from their daily experiences (e.g. bottle, dog) without the guidance of an adult

-Children can practise handling a book (e.g. holding it upright, turning pages)

-It can give children the chance to mimic your reading behaviours

-It gives children unlimited access to a range of books, which helps build their knowledge of the world

-It supports a relaxed and positive attitude towards books, which will facilitate a willingness to read in later years

-Older children are give the opportunity to practise the selection of appropriate books

-It allows you to observe your child’s behaviour. During what times of the day does your child generally go to the bookcase? This might help you choose the best times to sit and share a book with your child successfully

-You can also observe the types of books that your child enjoys and finds attractive. This will help you to purchase or borrow suitable books from the library.

Reading Tip: Giving your child independent access to books

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Reading Tip: Giving your child independent access to books

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