1. The first few years of a child’s life are extremely important to their emotional and intellectual growth. Reading to your child during these vital years is an essential tool to provide a nurturing and language-enriched environment. In Read-Aloud Rhymes for the Very Young, I have selected short poems with wonderful sounds to keep even the youngest child entertained while acknowledging their short attention spans.
2. Make reading a daily practice–a special time for both of you to look forward to. It could be during the afternoon to provide quiet quality time, or perhaps right before bedtime to calm the child after an active day. Find a special place in your home to sit together while you read–snuggling together while listening to a parent read makes the child feel safe, loved, and happy.
3. Read through the whole book to become familiar with the poems before choosing which ones to read to your child. This will help you pick the perfect poem that relates to the day, the weather, or an upcoming event–for example, read a poem about animals before visiting the zoo.
4. Choose rhythmic poems and vary your tone to keep the attention of very young children. While they may not understand the words yet, they will respond to the sounds. As your child gets older, begin to encourage your child to repeat the words you read to them. Point out the pictures that relate to what you are reading. If they start enjoying a particular poem you may look into other books by that poet.