By Vanessa Rasmussen, © 2004, All rights reserved.
Reading aloud to your child is one of the most enjoyable and important things you can do to ensure that your child is happy, healthy and successful. Children at the age of two to three who have been read to several times a day, did substantially better in kindergarten at the age of 4 and 5 than youngsters whose parents read to them a few times a week or less often. The emergence of things like the internet and television has in some instances stolen the time that might be spent reading with children.
Reading to young children encourages and fosters creative thinking skills, promotes reading as an enjoyable activity, provides an educational opportunity for children to grow and develop mentally, gives children an appreciation and respect for books, enhances language and vocabulary development, and allows for quality family time, among other things. Share your thoughts and use your imaginations as you enjoy some great stories together.
Following are some tips for reading with children
- Begin reading to children at a very young age. Reading books aloud to children stimulates their imagination and expands their understanding of the world. It helps them develop language and listening skills and prepares them to understand the written word.
- Try to pick a regular time and place to read with your children. A regular reading time gives children something to look forward to and tells them that you value this special time to spend it with them every day.
- Read with your children everyday for at least 15 minutes.
- Choose a comfortable, well lit room.
- Give children your full attention when you are reading together.
- Introduce your child to the book in a way that it attracts his/her attention. Show him the cover of the book, some pictures and give a brief idea about what is it about.
- Talk to your child about the pictures as you read the book.
- Use body language. Emphasize certain words, imitate events, and represent the character's feelings with facial expressions and body movements.
- Let children choose the books that they want to read.
- Young children often want the same story to be told over and over again. Be patient and re-read the book with your child.
- Often a child loses interest mid-way and wants you to stop reading. Do not force reading on your child. Continue the remaining story some other time.
- Read slowly and clearly so that your child understands every word you say.
- Ask children questions about the story and the pictures in the book. However, avoid questions that "test" your child.
- Visit your local library with your children and encourage them to suggest what books to borrow. You might also want to get your children their own library card.
- Be a role model for your children. If they see you reading and enjoy a wide variety of reading material, they will be motivated to read themselves.
Copyright 2001, 2004. All rights reserved. Any reproduction of this article in whole or in part without written or verbal permission is strictly prohibited. For information about reprinting this article, contact the copyright owner: Vanessa Rasmussen, Ph.D, Starting a Day Care Center, http://www.startingadaycarecenter.com.