Read Aloud To Your Children
We believe that you should read aloud to your child at least once every day. Create a special reading time during the day or evening when you can settle down and enjoy a book, without interruption. For most families, reading aloud is a bedtime tradition.
We understand that it can be quite discouraging to read to a child who appears disinterested. Take heart! Learning to listen takes experience. The more you read, the more your child will learn to sit for a story. Children have a natural development of responses to your reading. By the time your child reaches 6-7 months, s/he is very intrigued by the book in your hand, and would like to test it out by using it as a chew toy. This is natural! By a year, your child is learning to listen and talk about the pages, often shouting out things s/he recognizes. Encourage this! And at the onset of walking, you have your biggest challenge yet. Your child is constantly on the go. You need to schedule your reading time for a time in the day when s/he is preparing to settle down. This typically means bedtime. Remember, it is your right and responsibility to teach your child about the magic of books. Unfortunately, it doesn't happen overnight, but the rewards are tremendous!
Yes! It is necessary to be reading role models for all children, regardless of their age. Your passion for books and the sound of the English language is an important clue to how adults remain lifelong readers. In addition, as teachers we have long recognized that the way to improve students' spelling, vocabulary, reading and writing skill, is directly connected to how often they read or are read to.
One of the wonderful benefits of a good book is the discussion that follows its reading. This may be as simple as discussing what happened in the story (which helps you understand what your child is comprehending), or as involved as having a discussion about a critical scene. The best thing, however, is when you start to share ideas with children, you connect and communicate in a way that you would not be able to if not for that book. You can't easily get a child to share his/her opinion if you just come out and ask, "So, honey, what do you think about homelessness?" If homelessness is an issue in the book you are reading, however, the discussion and reaction of the child can be an eye-opener.
As teachers, we often choose a book to read aloud, simply because of the discussion that will follow. As a parent I did the same thing when reading to my own children. You wouldn't believe the breadth of topics we covered over the years! There is so much important information you can gather about your child's inner feelings and thought processes if you take the time to talk about the book you just read. In addition, your child learns more about what you feel is right or wrong, and the important thoughts behind your comments, which is critical to a strong bond of communication when it comes time to discuss more personal issues at home.