I have probably said this before, but, being a former teacher, I feel very strongly about it. Read to your child every day! Children who are read to at home will perform better in school on down the road. Take the time now to read to your child. Even 5 minutes a day will help them to develop their own reading skills.
Infants may not understand the words, but they will certainly understand the soothing sound of your voice while you read to them. At this age you are already beginning to model reading fluency to them even if you don’t know it! As your baby grows, begin to choose books that have bright pictures and easy cadences. Rhyming and pattern books are good to start with too.
Older babies may start to grab at the book or even eat it! Don’t worry, keep modeling good reading. You can give them a board book or vinyl book to hold/play with while you read to them. When babies start to reach the toddler phase, they may appear to not be interested in books or sitting still. You can, however, still model good reading to them. Sit and read your own book, magazine or newspaper while they are playing. Read out loud just one of their stories and then go back to reading your own material. Read to your child in little spurts. One short book before each sleep time or maybe even a short book while they are eating a meal.
As your toddler begins to show more interest in books, let them choose what they want you to read to them. You may find yourself reading the same things over and over. If this happens, after a while, pause at familiar lines and see if they can ‘fill in the blank’ for you. To vary the reading selection use the ‘you pick one book and I’ll pick one book’ routine. While you are reading the same book for the fifth time in a day for the fourteenth day in a row, remember that one day you will probably walk into the room to see your child ‘reading’ that book aloud by himself! And all because you read it to him so many times.
When your child is old enough and has the attention span for it, try short chapter books. Read one chapter or more per day. Continue to read to your child (even for just 5 minutes per day) as your child progresses through school. One day they will probably be too ‘old’ for that. Treasure this special time that you have with them and love of reading it will develop.