How to nurture your child’s love of books + stories, according to writer olivia villanti

Our friend, Olivia Villanti (and, full disclosure, Doddle’s wordsmith) shares her tips for getting your child to love reading. First things first though, why is reading important?

There are so many reasons—stronger communication skills, increased attention-span, better reading and writing abilities—but the one that has always resonated with Olivia is that it stimulates the imagination and imagination has been linked to higher self esteem in children. Really!

Her tips below...

Start ‘em young.

As in, start reading books to your child as early as the first month. Story is a bit like music, while a child may not understand the words, they understand the rhythms and the concept of a beginning and end.

Make books part of your daily routine.

Lots of us read to our kids at bedtime but I’ve found reading a book is a wonderful way to reconnect with your child after a long day. If you get home and are reunited, you can make this part of that “saying hello” process.

Don’t think novels are off-limits.

Fact: My mother read my brother and I the entire J.R.R. Tolkien series when I was only 5 years old. When books have such colorful language, who needs pictures? Engaging in a great, beautifully written and complex story is a wonderful way to develop an avid reader (and in turn, writer). Plus, it really gives the imagination a work out.

A few notes from Olivia...

“My son’s favorite books right now (he’s 18 months) are anything with songs interspersed throughout—The Best Nest by P.D. Eastman, 10 Little Fingers and 10 Little Toes by Mem Fox (he wiggles his toes on cue), and Dr. Seuss’s ABC. Also, anything with animals so he can make the noise—lions are his favorite!”

"If you are interested in learning more about reading to your children, this book by Mem Fox is highly recommended. Reading really can be magic!"

"We try to keep our space conducive to reading—so books are everywhere, but there's always a place to sit and enjoy a story."

Now go start your kids’ summer reading lists...

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