MISSION, KS--(Marketwire - Sep 12, 2011) - (Family Features) For parents with young children, it's often hard to know when to start reading to your child, or teaching them colors and numbers. But the act of reading to even very young children can soothe them and lead them to love story time and enjoy reading for themselves as they grow.

According to the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES), reading to children in the home sets kids up for success in school and in life. Providing a wide-range of reading materials they love, reading with your child and speaking with them about stories they're enjoying all build excitement around reading.

Learning to love reading is so important to a child's success in life that VTech, a leader in electronic learning products for kids, has joined with First Book, a global social enterprise that provides books to parents who can't afford them, by donating more than 4,000 new books to Head Start programs across the country.

Kyle Zimmer, First Book's founder and CEO, says reading at home makes a real difference, in a lot of ways. "It provides the bonding little ones will need to feel confident in school, as well as an affinity for reading on their own throughout their lives," she says.

Meanwhile here are some ways to get your young child to love reading:

  • Snuggle up. Kids love the attention and snuggle factor while reading a good book. The feeling of connection helps them calm down before nap or bedtime, and creates a sense of security that will help them build healthy relationships with others later in life.
  • Choose wisely. Bright colors and big pictures can be alluring for toddlers and children beginning to comprehend letters and numbers, so look for books with plenty of illustrations or photos.
  • Use voices. If you take on character voices while reading, you're more likely to get a few giggles and further engage your child. Encourage them to repeat what you have said and participate in the story telling.
  • Remember to play. For children who have an especially difficult time sitting still during reading time, begin to incorporate storylines into playtime. This will likely result in the child's excitement to learn more of the plot during the next story time and will lead to a fondness for classic story characters.
  • Get creative. You can also follow your child's creative play and help them write their own stories, using your child as the protagonist. Turn everyday activities into adventures and incorporate friends and family into the plotline. Allow them to draw illustrations to include in the book.
  • Engage your child. Go beyond just the copy on the page. Ask your child to find certain animals, plants, etc. Also ask them to identify colors, or to count the number of people on each page. Building these skills early will help your child think critically later.
  • Embrace technology. Another way to engage your child during story time is to look to new tech-savvy reading trends. Electronic readers, such as the V.Reader by VTech, have interactive stories that help kids love learning to read. Color touch screens with animated stories and spelling games bring books to life and let kids engage with reading in a whole new way.

Books help children succeed in life -- every child. So if you'd like to join in helping kids read through First Book, you can make a donation or get books for your reading program at www.firstbook.org. And to find out about the latest learning tools to help kids love learning to read visit www.vtechkids.com.

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