Do You Read to Your Children?

If so, do you make the experience fun and exciting or do you act as though you’d rather be getting your wisdom teeth yanked out—-without anesthesia.

If there is one thing a parent shouldn’t have to be told to do with their child it’s read. You would be hard pressed to find anyone who would not agree that reading to kids is one of the most important things you can do for them during their formative years. Not only does reading aloud to your kids help them develop critical language skills, it also strengthens the bond behind parent and child.

When was the last time you read out loud to your son or daughter? The National Children’s Reading Foundation recommends parents read to their children 20 minutes per day. They also suggest following the tips below to make the experience memorable for everyone involved:

Make Reading Fun. Don’t grab a book and make like reading it is the last thing on earth you want to be doing at 7:30 p.m. (Even if it is.) This is your chance to make reading fun. Get into character, use funny voices, ham it up, be enthusiastic, employ sound effects, or throw in an accent or two. Your kid will eat it up. What’s more, if you consistently read in a dull, tired voice your kids will think reading is boring. It’s up to you to make reading as exciting as possible to keep your children interested in books.

Pick a Theme. Liven up story time by making a game of it. Prior to bedtime announce that there is a theme for the night’s books, and give your kids the opportunity to figure out what it is. You don’t have to make it complicated, simply pick a few books that mention the same theme, be it dinosaurs, animals, cars and trucks, lessons on sharing, etc. The goal is to have your children pay attention to the stories so they can pick out the theme at the end of your reading session.

Encourage Variety. If my preschooler had her way I would be reading How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night by Jane Yolen, every single night. However, she has an entire bookshelf full of other selections and I try to get to each on a rotating basis. Experts recommend mixing classics like Goodnight Moon with newer books like If You Give a Moose a Muffin (or the latest by Laura Numeroff, If You Give a Cat a Cupcake). Also, include a few chapter books in with your child’s favorite picture book selections or throw in a flap book or a pop-up every now and then. The point is to encourage diversity in books… and in life.

How often do you read to your children? What’s your child’s favorite book?

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.