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The Stylist Mama Guest Post: Little Me Review & Toddler Reading Tips

We sent Ellen over at @TheStylistMama our new Little Me books and she's written a wonderful post about them and the best way to introduce reading to toddlers!

If you haven’t heard, we’ve recently done an incredibly exciting brand refresh of our beloved Little Me imprint for babies & toddlers.

We asked Ellen over at The Stylist Mama to tell us what she thought about our relaunched Little Me books.

We sent her the new books and she’s written a wonderful post where she interviews Fiona Morrison, her friend and a Year 2 teacher, about the best way to go about introducing reading to your little one and why she particularly recommends to do this with our Little Me books!

To discover the new range head to our Little Me page.


THE BEST WAYS TO INTRODUCE READING, AND STORYBOOKS TO YOUR TODDLER!

Ok, so I will gladly admit, I am not the idealistic-routined-academic-thrifty-mama that read any pregnancy books before I had Sophie, but while I was feeding in the early days, it was the perfect way to keep upto date with the outside world, and keep my mind busy!

Maybe lots of littlies are the same, or maybe it’s that we seem to have ALOT of books at home, but Sophie has taken on this amazing interest in reading. Anything with pages really, magazines, the newspaper, but most of all, books with bold colours, thick pages, recognisable animals, and SOUNDS! Anything she can feel, hear, point at, or turn the pages of, she is obsessed with!

I sat down with my friend Fiona Morrison, and quizzed her on how to read with my little one, and how I should encourage reading in the years to come!


Fi, now that Sophie understands what a book is, how should I go about reading with her?

“One of the hardest things I have found, is that a lot of books can be, well, pretty boring. Children tend to read because they are asked too, and thats great, but a lot of them don’t actually enjoy reading books about ‘mice that climb up a tree and finally come back down and find their home’ – honestly, NO ONE enjoys that. Children can be easily put off reading because they don’t enjoy the books they’re reading, for example my little cousin. He enjoys playing soccer, so one day I suggested he read books about soccer. Once he realised he could read books about his idols in the sport, and ways to play better, his interest in reading improved too. For younger children, choose topics of interest that you can read to them, and encourage them to find pictures of what they enjoy (“Can you see the puppy in the picture? You like puppies don’t you? What sound does a puppy make?”)

So once we have decided what to read, when is the best time to read?!

If you have a little one who isn’t interested in books, or who is starting to read but is becoming uninterested, sit down as a family in the afternoon (or even include it in your child’s bedtime routine), and read as a family. You could read the whole story aloud, take turns reading, or stop at certain pages to chat about the story and the pictures. This can build the enjoyment of reading by making it a social experience rather than a solitary one.

As a teacher, I often build it into our ‘class bonding’ time. I read aloud from a story every day (sometimes 2-3 times a day) after recess and lunch, and all the children LOVE this time. We all engage in the story together, enter the magical world of the book, and can discuss as a class what we think might happen next. It becomes a group experience, not a single experience, and this social aspect makes reading much more enjoyable for those who were previously reluctant (especially those who found reading difficult, as they can enjoy the story without the issue of being unable to read the words!)

What do you think about mixing it up? Should parents stick with a common theme of books, or explore different messages within a story?

Some children just don’t like books. We can only do so much to change that, but some children might not enjoy reading certain styles of books, so try to introduce them to a variety of texts, themes and storylines. A text is something that portrays a message – movies, music, fridge magnets, DVD covers, posters, photographs, even food packaging – all of these things portray different messages or storylines, and can be ‘read’ by your child.

If your child is playing with a magnet on the fridge, talk about the text that might be on there (whether written words or images). Show your child photographs of themselves or your family, and chat about what you’re doing, how they felt, etc. Once children realise that a text is anything that shares a message, you can begin to introduce them to the idea that books also share a message, and they may begin to enjoy unwrapping what that message might be (giving a feeling of suspense, excitement and fulfillment)!

Loving this advice, any last tips for kids who still aren’t loving it?

This might go against every grain of your being (I know it does for me as a teacher, a mother and an avid reader myself), but forcing your reluctant reader to keep reading may only make the problem worse. Aim for short bursts of quality reading time, rather than long-winded, unproductive reading that only increases your child’s reluctance. Even if you start with a page of an easy text, using your child’s interest, and discuss not only the words but the images as well, and then slowly build it up for your child as they become more interested (hopefully!).

Fiona says, “Reading is not only one of the most vital skills a child can develop, but I also think one of the most enjoyable. It can open them up to magical worlds and endless possibilities, as well as helping them to learn critical skills for understanding and deciphering complex messages in the world around them. I LOVE reading, and love being able to share that with my 6 month old son, but I know it might not always be like that. I hope the above tips can help you share a love of reading with your children, even if it is one small step at a time!”

If you would like to contact Fiona, you can find her at her BLOG // INSTAGRAM // EMAIL

Love this review from The Stylist Mama? Check out more parenting, lifestyle, fashion tips and more on her blog!
Find her on Instagram @TheStylistMama.

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