Time for a Story
Want to spend time with your young child, build their reading skills, and help them love books? You can do all three when you read aloud to them. Here are some suggestions.
Try to read to your child every day. You might aim for 10-15 minutes of bedtime reading for a peaceful end to the day. Bring along a book, and read during a siblings sports, dance, or music practice. Or, maybe after dinner time is a time to relax and read a book together.
Take Turns Choosing Books
Your child may want to hear old favorites again and again. Use your turn for new titles and variety, always exposing them to nonfiction and perhaps maybe some poetry.
Let Them Participate
Ask your child to turn the pages while you read. Also, they can finish sentences that rhyme or fill in words they know. Go slowly so they have time to understand the story and look at the illustrations. Your child will enjoy the read-aloud time more is they play an active role.
You can use different voices and accents. Or, substitute your child’s name for the main character’s name, or use family members’ names for other characters.
While reading is a necessity for learning, it is also one of the best ways to develop bonds with your children, researchers say. Scholastic calls reading “a gift for time-challenged parents who may feel guilty about missing special moments with their kids.”
The book publisher suggests parents schedule reading sessions often and use the moments to enrich their relationships with their children, as well as build their vocabularies. Parents will forever cling to such innocent moments. Kids, meanwhile, are learning about complex aspects of life and relationships when they are engaged in stories with themes that can be more mature than anything they’ve encountered in life. Going through those educational moments with a parent allows them to confront these issues in a safe space.
Why Read Aloud?
“Reading aloud to young children, particularly in an engaging manner, promotes emerging literacy and language development and supports the relationship between child and parent,” concludes a review in this month’s Archives of Disease in Childhood.
In other words, reading that bedtime story may not only entertain and soothe Johnny, it may also develop his vocabulary, improve his ability to learn to read, and – perhaps most important – foster a lifelong love of books and reading.
Developing that passion for reading is crucial, according to Jim Trelease, author of the best-seller, “The Read-Aloud Handbook.” “Every time we read to a child, we’re sending a ‘pleasure’ message to the child’s brain,” he writes in the “Handbook.” “You could even call it a commercial, conditioning the child to associate books and print with pleasure.”