Qatar Foundation initiative hosts webinar held as part of Mommy to Be program
Qatar Reads in collaboration with Qatar National Library has hosted an interactive webinar highlighting the benefits of reading to children from a young age, and the importance of creating positive habits, as part of its unique Mommy to Be program.
The event addressed how reading can help promote the development of language and literacy skills, and encourage a love of learning in children. With new mothers at the center of the discussion, it also addressed topics such as how to build bridges between parents and children, and ways to promote a culture of reading from an early age.
A parent is a child's first teacher
“A parent is a child's first teacher,” said Mrs. Faten Azzam, Senior Information Services Librarian, Qatar National Library, who led the discussion. “And, importantly, children acquire language skills through listening to the conversation of those around them.”
According to Mrs. Azzam, one of the most wonderful ways to talk to children is to discuss a certain book. “Use a language that they can understand, talk to your child, ask them questions, and allow them to answer. Even if they do not directly interact with you, the process itself can develop a child's linguistic skills.
“Infants are born with millions of nerve cells, and reading to them can help stimulate these cells. They can develop the ability to absorb language and skills, and can connect an image with a name, or an object with its use and sound.”
Reading can also introduce children to writing and prepare them for school. “Reading and writing are two compatible skills. Through reading, children can be introduced to written texts, and they can look at the text and memorize the shape of printed words,” said Mrs. Azzam.
The best types of books to use in the early learning stages are picture books, according to Mrs. Azzam, as they allow children to understand the story through images. And they often include short text, which children can see, and parents can read aloud.
Providing advice on how to read to children, Mrs. Azzam said: “It is very important to go through the book on your own before you read it to your child to decide if it’s suitable for their age. And remember to pick a book that matches your child’s interest.”
Reading time should become your child’s favorite time
Reading to children in an interactive process, according to Mrs. Azzam. “You can allow your child to flip the pages of the book to increase their participation in the reading process. Explain new terminology, ask questions, and help with the answers. It is not necessary to read the whole story at once, but it is necessary to make reading a habit.
“Reading time should become your child’s favorite time. You need to work on making it a fun experience that your child enjoys and loves. Make your children treat their books like their favorite toys to play with,” she concluded.
The Mommy to Be program is a joint program between Qatar Foundation’s Qatar Reads initiative and Qatar National Library.
For more information, please visit: qatarreads.qa