There’s nothing that captures a person’s imaginations like a story. You can tap into your children’s imagination with stories as early as you think you want to. Granted that to a 3-month old baby, it may sound like blabber and he may not comprehend too much.
But you can capture their attention with colorful illustrations and different voices as you read along.
While reading is good, and encouraging a child to read is even better, you should choose an appropriate time of the day. Do not attempt to read when the child is struggling with sleep or is hungry or you see a temper tantrum on its way. Forcing a story down an agitated child is less likely to calm him.
Do not try and calm a restless child by reading to him. It might turn him away from reading if he perceives it as a diversion tactic. When the child is calm and well-fed, you are likely to have his complete and hopefully undivided, attention.
It might help to play around with a variety of books instead of having a handful of regular stories. When at the bookstore, keep an eye out for books with different textures, large print, pop-up books and such.
Another aspect of reading that the child is likely to enjoy is modulating and acting out the voices of different characters in the story. As you read, move your finger along the words as you go along, pointing out at relevant pictures so that they can slowly make the connection with the words and pictures.
If books and stories are weaved into their daily schedule at play time and bed time, you are inculcating an interest that is likely to ensure that your child is never too bored, if he has a book to read. There will be fewer struggles when reading becomes a regular part of their routine when they begin school.
Good readers are known to perform better at school, able to follow instructions better, and pay better attention in class than non-readers. Also, once they have understood the nuances of reading, it will be less of a chore to them in school. They will only be more eager to display their skills.
As Charles W. Eliot said, “Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.”