Reading Aloud is a ritual in our house since Z was born... Yes literally, I remember reading aloud The Very Hungry Caterpillar when she was a few days old. She was right there in my arms, her eyes closed, yet I read to her. She didn't respond, but I read on.
This few days old baby turned into a few month old baby and all she wanted to do was lick her books and try to tear the pages. I let her. When I read aloud, her expressions changed, she started staring at me with her eyes wide and her mouth open. She tried to repeat what I said, and giggled when I made funny noises.
Soon a 1 year old Z, started repeating what I said (well she tried to) and we had our conversation, she babbled and I responded, as if I understood whatever she said. She found her favourite author at around 1.5 years - Julia Donaldson had her complete attention, she sat through Gruffalo... Gasping, laughing and blabbing. For a 1.5 year old sitting through Gruffalo was strange and I wasn't sure what she gauged from the story, all I knew was she was having fun and so was I.
She started blending sounds when she was 3.2 years, and now at 4.5 years she is an independent readers, don't believe me... have a lookie (this video was take a few months back) https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=437581293072120&set=vb.257814404382144&type=3&theater
One thing I know, I won't stop reading aloud to her, yet. She has a lot to experience as far as reading aloud to her is concerned and she loves it.
Our bedtime reading ritual has changed a little bit off late. We read at least 2 books, she reads a book and then I read the rest. One of the best thing about our read aloud sessions now-a-days are the questions she asks, after we've read a book.
Our readings have progressed from fun colourful board books to elaborate storylines, beautiful illustrations and a whole lot of fun. We've gone from animated reading to reading and discussing the book we've read. We have moved from a couple of minutes to an hour at least. We've grown as readers....yes, WE have grown as readers. Our love for children literature grows every single day. That's just because we have read every single day. We haven't given our daily reading amiss at parties, vacations, family functions, sick days, happy days... We have read every single day, and that is something I recommend to everyone of you out there.