Monday, 23 November 2009

Read To Your Children, Read To Your Children, Read To Your Children...

Can I say it again?

Reading a bedtime story to your kids from an early age, even in the womb! convinces them that books are lovely things. Books mean snuggles, pretty colours and the favorite sound of a parent's voice. At first, reading aloud is difficult for most of us. That's why it's great to begin when your kids are young and not too picky! You can start with simple tales and rhymes, and in no time you'll be reading like Ian Mckellen! He reads the "Wolf Brother" audiobook series by Michelle Paver, and it's excellent. Chas is addicted.

Reading to your child improves their vocabulary better than any other educational activity, including fancy computer programs. It's a fact.

Some kids learn to read simply by being read to: the words and sounds match up for them. Other kids who are read to tend to read on their own earlier than their peers, a valuable head start when even solving math problems requires reading and comprehension skills.

Reading often leads to discussion, and helps you to understand your child better. WHY are they so into that book about dogs? Is it helping them to deal with fear? Do they love their toy dog best? Later on, serious topics can be covered: I still read to my eleven-year-old, often newspaper articles or chapters from a book I'm reading, if it's science related. He loves it, and will race off to google "Hadron Collider". He likes to know what's up in science news, but there's no way he'll read the newspaper himself. Yet!

Read the classics: Greek Myths, Fairy Tales, Shakespeare For Kids, it's all good. Collections of stories are easy to find.

Reading nursery rhymes repeatedly helps to develop a good memory.

Kids doing a topic at school? Get stories and informative books with lots of pictures and Enrich, Enrich, Enrich the syllabus.

Many bedtime story collections have SHORT entries, so that you don't have to spend half an hour reading aloud. Five minutes is great! We even had a book called "Three-Minute Bedtime Tales" for those nights when I had laryngitis or was in a hurry.

Reading a story is a useful way of coping with issues. Anything from "I Can Use My Potty" to the morals of C S Lewis' Narnia Tales can help kids (and parents) to think about emotionally charged topics. Avoid scary stories at bedtime, though! Save them for the morning. And DON'T read scary stories to young or sensitive kids, stick with the happy stuff.

Check out the internet for interesting sites like this one, for much more on how children learn to read and how being read to improves intelligence, communication and social skills.

Visit your Library, if you've got one! Reading can cost nothing, and takes less time than washing the dishes. There is no excuse. READ TO YOUR CHILDREN! Start tonight.

14 comments:

LceeL said...

Unfortunately, my boys are all too big to be read to -but I DO read to Annie at night - until she falls asleep.

I suppose that's what grandkids will be good for - ready victims for Grandpa's desire to read aloud - something I really enjoy doing.

Life As I Know It said...

well said! books, and reading out loud, are important in our house. Even though my son can read just fine, we still read to him. Especially during the winter when we can cozy up with a big, fat chapter book to read together. So important on so many different levels.

Nan said...

Oooh, my title should really read: "Read to your children AND grandchildren!" The boys love my mum to read to them!

Grandmother said...

Exactly! I've had a love affair with words for a loooong time so I loved reading to my daughter and now to her children. Surely one of life's easiest and greatest joys. It's not just them that it's good for!

Tash said...

Absolutely agree! We're in a dry spell with books though. He's not too into the one we're reading now, and to be honest, neither am I? So off to the bookstore today after school to find something else!

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

It's true, and even when my sons don't want to come read stories, I've found that if I sit on the couch and start reading a book out loud, the always end up nestled in listening. That is powerful.

MS said...

Zara loooooooves story time. She picks out her own books at bed time, and any other time during the day. I think her Christmas present will be books :)

T.

Nan said...

Oh, Tash, the LIBRARIES here! Sigh. Poor you.

chickenfootsouseforthesoul said...

Spouses (spice?) also like to be read to as well!
Me likey !

HalfAsstic.com said...

That was a great post and a great truth! Well done, Nan!

Islandgirl said...

I can still remember my Grandpa reading to me when I was a little girl. There was one particular book and one particular poem I liked...one about Augustus who wouldn't eat his nasty soup and got so thin that he wasted away.
http://www.naughtykitty.org/augustus.html

What made it funnier for me was that Grandpa's middle name was augustus. I can still see the drawings in my minds eye (not the ones that are on the link above..the book was way better). It stays with you forever those times...

Miranda said...

We have your three minute tales book, as well as all the others. Thanks! If there are any more in your house I'm going to steal them.

Nan said...

Miranda, feel free... we can always steal them back again!

witchypoo said...

Caution: If you read the Wizard of Oz to them, don't change your voice for each character. Some of them will strain your vocal cords.