The Power of Parenting

Tuesday, 29 September 2020

Bonding through Books!

The benefits of reading with your child from early on
As published in Oh Baby! Magazine, Vol. 2: Issue 3, July - October 2007

There's nothing like snuggling up with your child to read a book. Her eyes light up when you point out a cat in the story, she giggles when you tell the story in a funny voice and she listens intently as you read on. A few months pass and now she is saying "cat" when you point at the illustration. As each story is shared, your child develops a variety of skills and a love of reading. When reading happens regularly, your child's language and listening skills will improve as she learns about textures, colours, shapes and the written word.

Reading is a great opportunity to bond and enjoy each other's company; together you can explore new places, things, people and ideas. "It's the time together, a parent's voice and the colourful illustrations or textures of the book that make reading together an enjoyable activity and an opportunity to bond. Children feel safe when cuddled and enjoy listening to mom or dad talk. When you start reading to your child early on, he or she learns to associate books with this pleasant experience and this activity becomes and important part of his of her routine, fostering a love of reading," says Dr. Liane Comeau, Director of Research and Programs at Invest in Kids, a national charity that helps parents support the healthy social, emotional and intellectual development of their zero - five-year olds.

It's never too early to start reading to your child! In fact, it's an activity that you can share together from the first days of life and throughout childhood. In 2006, Invest in Kids, in partnership with The Dollywood Foundation, launched The Imagination Library in Canada. Parents can register their child with The Imagination Library program in those communities where the program has already been funded. Once registered, the child will receive in the mail, an age-appropriate book every month until his or her fifth birthday, including an Invest in Kids' Comfort, Play & Teach™ activity card that parents can use to support their child's every stage of development.

Parents who would like to find out whether the program is available in their neighbourhood, as well as communities interested in funding and brining this program to their area, can contact The Imagination Library via: phone: 1-866-658-1254 or email: [email protected]

For additional information on The Imagination Library and more Comfort, Play & Teach™ reading tips you can visit

If you make reading a part of your baby's daily bedtime routine, your baby will feel secure, loved and valued. Reading at bedtime is comforting for a child and when the day winds down, you and your baby can share some snuggle time with a book.
If you allow your toddler to hold the book while you read together, your toddler will feel a sense of independence as he holds the book and feel your support as you listen to him. Let him turn the page and ask him questions about what will happen next.

If you make funny faces, use different voices and gestures when you read to your baby, your baby will watch your face and listen to your voice for different emotions. When you see something that's big, talk in a deep voice or if someone is sleeping, talk in a whisper.
If you provide your toddler with puppets and dress up props, your toddler will express his understanding of the story in creative ways. As you read the story, use the puppets and dress up clothes together to make the story more fun.

If you let your baby manipulate sturdy board books and soft cloth or plastic books as you read to her, your baby will enjoy the feeling of different textures with her fingers and her mouth. Plastic books are great for bath time and cloth books allow your baby to bend the pages. She will be using her fine motor skills as she uses her fingers to manipulate the book.
If you read favourite books repeatedly, your toddler will learn about the structure of stories and he will start to remember the order of events.

Reprinted with permission of Oh Baby! Magazine.