Tuesday, May 5, 2015

It's Your Turn to Read

Parents are encouraged to read to their children. They read "Good Night Moon"  until parent and child have it memorized. They stroll through all the Berenstain Bear books and enjoy the art and the words of Where the Wild Things Are. Some even read to their child in utero!  But for some reason many parents stop reading to their child once the child can read on her own.

It is easy to forget that a child may be a good enough reader to read to learn, but their reading level in usually below their listening level. Listening to a good book exposes a child to more complicated sentences, plots, vocabulary and ideas than books he can read when he is young. In addition, the child has someone right there to pronounce the words correctly and explain any vocabulary or action that he doesn't understand.

In a perfect world parents would have plenty of time to read every night to their children. While it is a good routine to read 15 to 20 minutes at bedtime, some people's schedules make it difficult. Remember reading on weekends or once a week is better than never. Other adults (grandparents, aunts or uncles, good friends or even a caring babysitter) can also fill this role.

What to read?  Read something your child wants to learn about. Read a story you loved as a child.  Read stories that present problems you would like to talk about. Read stories that explore history or science. Read about famous people and events. Read the hardest book on a child's summer reading list (No, they won't get credit for reading it but they will have the knowledge grained by hearing it. )

Don't limit your reading to suggested read-aloud books for your child's grade level. Some children need the cushion of easy listening, and others need the challenge of more difficult books. Let the level of books grow with your child's interest and abilities. Do not be afraid to read something outside your child's interests to expand their knowledge. There are so many books -- old and new -- to read to an elementary school age child.  And if both of you can't stand a book once started, get another one.

Many book lists have suggested ages listed. These are guidelines -- not requirements. I recommend below age level if your child has not had many books read to him or finds language difficult. For the child with an intense interest in a specific subject do not be afraid of reading teen or even adult books, especially for the 9 to 11 year olds. My son loved the book Skunkworks: A Personal Memoir of my Years at Lockheed . He begged his dad to read it to him and then spent a good part of 5th grade rereading the book himself. (He grew up to be a singer/songwriter who has a day job as an aerospace engineer.)

I recommend parents scan most books or check a review on the Internet. There is a continuous supply of new read aloud books. Here are some initial suggestions for oldies but goodies:
Check out the blog each Wednesday for more read-aloud suggestions.

1 comment:

  1. I agree with the read and re-read again and again idea. It may get boring for you, but if a child continually asks for the same book to be read to them, it means they are still getting something out of it: enjoyment, learning, or simply time with mom or dad.