All children love listening to stories, and if you give them a positive experience early on, they’ll start to learn their ABC without even realising it. “The aim is to make book-reading and story-telling as much fun as say, playing in the park,” says Rebecca Green of the National Literacy Trust’s website Early Reading Connects.
“Never make learning a chore – sing songs or use rhyme and role-play. And if your child can’t sit still, get his attention in another way.
“If he loves trains, for example, go to a railway station, then look at books about trains.”
Bored with reading the same old book to your child? “Try not to be,” says Rebecca. “If your child keeps bringing you the same book, it’s because it’s captured his interest so follow his lead.
Children learn from repetition and by reading the same book over and over again, he may grow to recognise words that way.” Try pointing out a letter and asking your child if he can spot the same one anywhere else on the page. But remember, if your child doesn’t want to play that game, don’t force it or you risk ruining his love of reading early on!
Create opportunities for fun letter learning in everyday things. “If your child takes an interest in your mobile phone, point out the letters on the keys. When you’re out and about, signs are a good way to introduce letters. And don’t forget the old favourite I-Spy - it’s a great game for learning letter sounds.”
Help your child’s concentration
Helping your child to concentrate will reap big benefits as he’ll be able to learn and absorb more efficiently and enjoy puzzles, games, arts and crafts more, as well as getting more out of nursery or school.
Spend 5 or 10 minutes a day playing or doing what your child chooses. By giving him total attention, you show him how to focus.
Build regular quiet time into your child’s day. Turn off the TV, washing machine and phone.
Give eye contact to your tot when he’s chatting. He’s more likely to finish what he’s saying if you’re listening.
Let your child get plenty of sleep. Tiredness may lead to lack of concentration.
Keep his diet varied and healthy. Avoid highly sugared or processed food, choosing freshly prepared meals and snacks instead.