Hi again. Mrs. Doodle here from DancyDoodle. Aimee is so kind to invite me back. Check here to read my introduction and a little about why I feel reading to your children is so important.
Recently I read The Read~Aloud Handbook? (For short we will call it TRAHB.) This is book about why, how, and when you should read aloud to your children but also has a treasury of wonderful books to read aloud categorized by age group.
I knew that I needed to instill in my girls that reading was fun at an early age. But how? How can I help them to see books as something that can take them to another place, another time, or give them information on a subject that they love. Well, I was reading a blog one day in my RSS feed (sorry I don't remember which one) and she mentioned that she had just finished reading TRAHB. I thought I would add it to my list of books to check out at the library and see if it had something I could use in my quest to teach my girls. OH MY GOODNESS is all I can say when I started reading this book. I didn't even have the updated version either and I thought that. It had so many things that made me say "ah ha!" It had so much useful information in it that I know I will use for the rest of my life with myself, my girls, and way farther down the road my grandchildren.
One important thing this book stresses is that reading is an accrued skill... the more you do it, practice it, the better you become. You want children to associate reading with pleasure. You talk to them to reassure them, to comfort them, to tell them information, etc. and the same thing is true for reading. Children can get all kinds of information, knowledge, emotion, and comfort from a book. Why don't children today read more if reading can do all of these things? Well I feel like today we teach our children, myself included, that instant gratification is okay. If they want to know something get on the internet and look it up. If they want something get on the internet or go to the store and buy it. They don't want to take the time to read a book or they feel like the only reason they NEED to read a particular book is so they can take a test on it. So many things today are geared at tests and children loose the JOY of reading because it becomes a job. So imagine if before they know what tests are or school they learn to LOVE to read. They crave the stories inside of books. They imagine themselves in the story. They soak up the information like it is a prize. Well reading aloud can help your children do just that. They will enjoy reading and not realize that they are learning, building a vocabulary, building an imagination, and so much more all at the same time. You are helping them to associate reading with something positive and enjoyable. When children go to school and are exposed to reading first there then they can only associate it with a test to be taken afterwards.
How and when should you read to your children? This was surprising to me... TRAHB says at every age. You should always read to your children. What if your child is an infant, what if your child already knows how to read, what if your child is a teenager? The TRAHB says it is good to read to all age groups. Even if you are starting now with teenagers that think it is so lame that their mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, etc is reading aloud to them... do it anyways. Get a book that you think they might be interested in. Just try to be persistent about maybe reading a chapter a day and that is all. You can work up to discussing the chapters, characters, plot, etc but at the beginning keep it simple. Once you "catch" their imagination and interest you should be good to go. Maybe this won't happen the first time and if it doesn't then try inviting the child to help pick out a book with you. What if you have a child that won't sit still long enough for you to read a story to them? Well try to read to them in the beginning around bed time when things are a little calmer. What if they interupt you the whole time you are reading - go with the flow at least they are interested in what is going on in the book. Sometimes when my daughter says what is going on the page we haven't read yet, I tell her we are almost to "that" point in the book to listen closely or I stop and explain what it is she is curious about and then continue reading. She usually really wants to know so she listens. There is another point of reading aloud... listening. My daughter knows to put on her "listening ears" when we read. She looks at the pictures in the book but also has to listen to the story to know what is going on. She is developing great listening skills. (that is not so awesome when she can hear things you so don't want her to hear - what mom??? you are making cupcakes! Yea busted me with those "listening ears" little missy:) This will be so important in life... so be able to listen to what is going on around her, to listen to directions, to listen to her friends, etc. A bonus is she is also really good at listening to music as well. I think what I am trying to emphasize is there is no age that you shouldn't read to your children. If you haven't started yet... start today. Make this the day that you help your child learn to enjoy reading. It will change their life is such a big way.
Another thing I thought was so interesting in the book was that children have a "reading" level and a "listening" level. They can listen to you read books that are on a much higher level than their "reading" level. They can listen to you read bigger words. They might have been intimidated by the book if they thought they were going to have to read it. You are doing the "work" and they are enjoying it. But once they listen to books being read to them on a higher level the intimidation will eventually fade. They will "bring" themselves up to that level because they know they are able. You have given them a stepping stone.
The thing that really touched my heart as a parent in this book was the great service that I am doing for my girls just by reading to them. My reading to them will help them to develop so many skills that will help them throughout their lives. AND you don't have to pay a bazillion dollars for it... you can go to your library and borrow books for free. Yea NO send 5 easy payments of $99.99 or call now while the number is still flashing to get a special discount or come to this meeting and you will learn how to make your kid a genius... ALL you have to do is READ to them. Make a habit of reading to your children. You will impact their lives forever. When I read the TRAHB I was already reading to my oldest daughter. We had a regular routine of going to the programs at the library and getting books. We would always read them together but we didn't have a routine. After reading TRAHB I knew that I had to start making reading part of our routine everyday. Do we miss days every now and then... of course but it is in our routine and if we miss a day then the next day we get back on track. I can tell a HUGE difference in my daughter. She so looks forward to our reading times, which for us are nap time and before bed at night. Her vocabulary has soared. She was speaking French today from the Fancy Nancy books we read a couple of nights ago.... and in the correct context. She listens to the things around her and processes it so well. She is learning to enjoy reading now and I am so excited about that. I also include my 4 month old in on our reading time. She usually makes it through a book or two before she gets fussy and wants to nurse or my husband will come and "rescue" her with his kisses. She really enjoys it though. She laughs and babbles while I read. Eventually she will be right beside her sister during our reading time and probably listening to books much above her "reading" level.
I hope you are inspired to read The Read~Aloud Handbook. I think you will really love and it take something from it that will help you become a read aloud parent. The author has a great website... Trelease on Reading. On the website he has some great resources to get you started. One thing I found helpful were the do's and don't's when reading aloud. It helps answer some questions you might have about reading aloud.
Now for a giveaway:) Yippie we all love a giveaway!!!! I have a copy of On the Night Your Were Born by Nancy Tillman. This is a book that will make any young reader feel special. It is a story of how the whole world celebrated you on the night you were born. A book that will let your child know "You are the one and only ever you." My daughter and I recently read this book again and she loved it just as much as she did when she was a younger. She even looked out of the window as we were driving the day after we read it and said, "mommy the wind is saying my name." Precious.
Chance #1 - I would love to know what your reading routine is with your children? If you don't have one, then let me know of one way you can fit reading into your routine.
Chance #2 - go take a look at Trelease on Reading and take a look around. Were you inspired?
Chance #3 - subscribe to this blog
Please make sure to post a comment for each chance. That will make things much easier. Also make sure your comment has some way for me to get in touch with you... blog link, e-mail, etc.
Giveaway will close Tuesday, August 31st and the winner announced Wednesday, September 1st. Good luck!!!
Also be sure to subscribe (YEA SO THAT:) or check back... we are going to have one awesome giveaway coming up very soon!!! You don't want to miss it.
~ Mrs. Doodle