Monday, February 22, 2010
Fostering A Love For Reading: Part 4
Read, Read, Read Aloud To Your Child!
Obviously, I'm not going in order of importance with the posts in this particular series. If it was, this tip would probably be listed in the top spot!
Reading to your child is the single most important thing you can do to raise a reader (Jim Trelease)! And it's important no matter how old your child is, or whether or not they are able to read themselves. As Jim Trelease says, if reading aloud is a commercial for the pleasures of reading, why do we ever stop doing it? Especially when our children get older and are less likely to read for pleasure?
There is research galore (pick up the Read Aloud Handbook) supporting the mega impact that reading aloud to your child carries! Basically, children who have been read to a lot, will likely grow to be readers!
You can make reading a part of your family's daily routine without forcing it upon your children in an unpleasant manner. Ideally, reading with your child begins right at birth (or prior to), but sometimes a parent discovers the power of reading to their child a little later. When that's the case, making reading aloud a daily part of your lives may feel awkward or difficult at first.
If that's the spot you're in: How about getting a newspaper subscription? Or a subscription to a magazine your child might be interested in? Read interesting articles you find to your child (articles you think would also interest them). How 'bout simply starting a bedtime story routine? That's a natural read-aloud opportunity, and I can't imagine any child not liking a bedtime story... no matter how crazy they might pretend they think you are at first. Maybe read a book at the same time as your child and chat with them about it when you both finish, or every chapter or so? Kind of like a little book club...
For younger children, who reading aloud to is usually a little more natural feeling, read to them whenever you can. Literally, whenever you can. You'll probably be surprised how much you both enjoy it. And you'll see their attention span grow and grow. My son is 19 months, and my husband and I are stunned at the length of stories he'll sit and listen to. (Tonight he requested a long bedtime story and my husband did the skipping-a-page-or-two at a time trick as he read it, because he didn't want my son to be up till midnight while he read the whole thing.) Lengthening a child's attention span is actually one of the many benefits to reading aloud to them.
I know I have touched on this topic a lot on this blog (I even sell a tee with this reading-aloud message on it), so I won't belabor the point here.
Read to your child.
You can never read to your child too much.
Don't ever stop reading aloud to your child.
And P.S., some people have been commenting about the "Read to Your Child" tee. You can click the photo in the sidebar on the right to order your own!