It’s hard to disagree with the evidence that reading aloud to young children yields great benefits throughout life. And that’s just the factors that are easily tested – language skills, reading readiness, comprehension, and so on. Add to that the relationship building aspect that comes along with a positive shared experience. I still remember snuggling up in my dad’s lap and listening to him read some of my favorite stories and the “funny page” in the Sunday paper. It was a real treat to get that one-on-one time, not to mention getting to hear his hilariously animated voices as well.
We can all agree that reading with children has substantial benefits, but here are some resources I recently found that will help to make that reading time really great.
Ten Times Two
Mem Fox is a delightful author and proponent of childhood literacy. Here she gives her own “Ten Read-Aloud Commandments”. I love that the Second Commandment is to read three stories a day. I like that the emphasis is on the story – that’s what it’s really about – and less about a precise time limit. Likewise, I appreciate that the majority of her “Commandments” are about making it fun and enjoyable. That is key in getting the most out of your reading time with children.
Last year, I made my own list of 10 Ways to Get the Most Out of Story Time With Your Preschooler. Check that out for an idea or two to implement next time.
How to Read a Book
As I mentioned before, part of what made my own childhood memories of reading so salient, was the way my dad would read to me. Mem Fox has an outstanding clip on her site where she explains, and models good read-aloud skills. Her animation, coupled with her fantastic accent makes for an enchanting example. (You don’t have to read with the accent of course….unless you already have one, and then I suppose it’s not an accent at all!)
Think about readers you have enjoyed, either from your own childhood or possibly a book on tape you enjoyed. Try to sound like a professional storyteller, rather than rushing through the book. Using your voice to tell the story increases enjoyment as well as comprehension.
So take some time and check out Mem’s site – and then take some time and snuggle in with a great book and your own little ones!
What are some of the favorite read-alouds in your home?
Top photo by bjearwicke.