Do you remember someone reading to you as a child? Was reading something that was valued in your home? I remember my parents reading to me every night at bedtime and then when I was old enough, reading to myself with a night light. This is a tradition that my husband and I have carried on with our own children. Both children get to pick out a book for bedtime and my 7 year old gets to read with her night light before bed. This is not the only time we read with them, but the time that my children know to expect it.
Reading is a skill that is important in day to day life as well as in most jobs. It is something you probably do without noticing or realizing you are doing it throughout your day, even with routine parts of your day such as reading the mail or reading the recipe for a meal. If reading is something that is valued in your home and done on a regular basis, it will encourage children to want to learn to read. A child knows that reading is valued when you take time to read with them. It can also be shown by having books in your home or going to the library.
When you think about reading to your children, what do you picture? Do you picture it being a relaxing activity and something that can be done to show you care and love your child? Reading to children can be done in several ways. One way is to have it be a more energetic activity or at least start as one. There are many children’s books written that provide verbal commands for your child to follow such as dancing, sitting down and standing up, or jumping up and down. These can be fun for children and also help them to get rid of some extra energy. It can also be done as a calmer activity such as before naptime or bedtime or just when a calmer activity is needed. You can snuggle up on the coach or in bed and have them lean in with you. This can help to bring some calming energy and help them feel loved and cared for.
When you think about what books to read, it is really about the act of reading, especially when they are younger. If they are not interested in what you are reading to them, then they are not going to pay attention and will struggle to participate. Find books that they will enjoy whether it be a character they are familiar with, a theme, or an author. You can try to do a variety of books with them and see what they enjoy. If there is something they do not enjoy, put it aside for now and you can try it later. You want reading to be an enjoyable experience and something they look forward to so that it continues. If you need suggestions, the librarians in the children’s section are usually able to provide helpful suggestions. You can also take your child to the library with you and have them help select the books they want to bring home.
As children get older, continue to allow them to select the books they want to read. You can offer suggestions, but they will also have a better idea of what they want to read. Some children are not as excited about reading chapter books as they get older, but you can offer to read the books with them or they can try graphic novels.
Reading with children is an important activity and should be made enjoyable. If you are struggling to figure out ways to make this happen, please reach