With Children's Book Week starting this week (August 17), World of Learning Kingsgrove is promoting the importance of reading to kids from a young age, to boost their literacy skills by the time they start formal schooling.
G8 Education Pedagogy and Practice Manager, Melinda Miller, says new research underlines the importance of reading to and with children.
"Research has found that young children who were read five books a day have heard around 1.4 million more words when they begin school than those who were not read to," Dr Miller said.
"That shows how critically important it is that we read to children and support them to develop a love of learning, reading and speaking. Ideally this practice continues in the home and we do all we can to make books easily accessible while children are in our care."
Dr Miller says books are critical to children's learning and development and there is a need to reign in the expectation of pre-school aged children being able to read and write.
"Ideally reading begins with babies, in fact in utero," she said. "This continues as children progress in their learning journey beginning formal literacy learning when they begin in primary school.
"We know children learn best, and this is reflected in the research, when they can relate text and illustrations to their play. The best way to embed literacy and an understanding that words are symbols with meaning is for children to experience the joy of stories and engage with texts on multiple occasions.
"Being school ready is about setting children up to hear the sounds of language so when they begin school, they are ready to learn letter sound relationships and continue their journey to being confident readers."
Experts say enjoyment is key to making reading successful.
Jennifer Rennie from Monash University says it is a good idea to teach children how to read for pleasure.
"Reading expands children's vocabularies, allows them to enter different worlds, sparks their imaginations and facilitates the exploration of issues in society in a safe way," she said.
"Children who have been read to from birth each day, just ten minutes a day, are more likely to be readers in school and subsequently will find school literacy both reading and written literacies easier."