Rainy, cold winter days are a perfect time to grab your favorite little people, a pile of children’s books, and a cozy seat for reading together.

Research shows that as little as 15 minutes of reading a day with a parent improves children’s language and reading skills, enhances their love of learning, and promotes parent-child bonding.

Even babies benefit from reading, as they use reading time to develop eye muscles, hand-eye coordination and recognition of the rhythm of your language. Point at large, colorful pictures for your baby, use books with texture that they can feel, and go slowly so they have time to see each page.

As you read to your child ages 2-4, provide your child with time to look at the pictures before your read, point with your finger at the words as you read them, and ask your child if he can remember what comes next during familiar stories. Make reading fun and entertaining, so that he will look forward to this special time with you.

Older children who are learning to read will enjoy hearing familiar stories and new ones, too. Try pointing at a word, saying it and asking her to find that word whenever it is written later in the story. As he gains reading skills, he may like taking turns reading words or pages with you. Even your ‘tween or ‘teen will appreciate a quiet time for the whole family to collapse with favorite books if you have raised them to embrace a life-long love of reading.