Reading and BOOOOOKS!! Let's Chat...

You know, as a former teacher, I realize how important reading is to kids (as most parents do as well).  However, I don't know that all parents realize how easy it is to make if fun and model for kids.  So, I wanted to share some reading tips with you that I've used in college, in my classroom and now, in my home to encourage reading.

Oh yes, there's another things you should know... in my spare time, I do NOT read.  I know, CRAZY right?!  Something about it always puts me to sleep.  I have trouble focusing when I read silently, therefore I have to read aloud to actually understand it... so, reading in public is out.  And WHO has time to read or get silence long enough to read at home??  OK... back to the list...

-FREQUENCY- I know it probably seems obvious to most.  BUT, children should be read to OFTEN.  At LEAST once/day for around 15 mins or so.  Starting EARLY on in life.  The earlier you start, the more it becomes a habit.  So, even if they are 3 weeks old, you can rock with them and read them a book.  If you do it everyday, they don't question it or fight it, it's just 'what we do'.

-FAMILIARITY- Words are EVERYWHERE... TV, cereal boxes, billboards, magazines, etc.  You can point out words and letters super early in life. Make reading a 'fun game' and your kids will DEFINITELY want to join in.  *IDEA* Place words (you can buy them at a teacher store, or make them) around your house labeling things.  Like, the word 'door' on the door... etc.  You can make that a game before they can even 'read'.  You take a dowel rod and a gardening glove, stuff the glove with batting and attach it to the rod.  Then have your little one 'read' the words.  So, sure, she can't 'read' door.  BUT, she can use context clues, and that's a skill too!  PLUS, she thinks she's reading, and she's pretty good at it so she's super excited to keep trying!

-DIRECTIONALITY- When I was modeling this with our oldest child, and used the word 'directionality', my husband was like, "Is THAT a word?"  The answer is YES!  It is a concept that is modeled without even trying.  And it is IMPORTANT.  It is teaching the baby (because you can start this VERY early on) or child how to hold the book, how to turn the pages, what direction we read (top to bottom, left to right).  You can model this by just holding the book, turning the pages, and following your words with your finger.  Slowly allowing them to do it.  Won't be long until your baby is holding books, turning pages, and babbling to themselves the 'story'.

-SUMMARIZING/RETELLING- Let's be real, even my 3 year old doesn't enjoy sitting still listening to a book for too long.  She wants to talk about the cow on the page, or find out 'why his face is mad?', or remind me that the girl is wearing shoes in the picture (this list could go on FOREVER).  So, a GREAT way to maintain and refocus their attention back to the book is by summarizing or retelling the story.  My little one responds best when I leave blanks in the sentence for her to fill in... "So, Sam ran to his _____"  "MOM!"  She feels excited because she knew and then I know that she's listening.

-INFERRING- It is SO important and SUCH a 'high' level of learning on Bloom's Taxonomy to have  your kids tell you what they think about the story.  What do they think will happen next?  For older kids, you can ask them how they would have ended the story differently.  The possibilities are endless and definitely push your kiddo's thinking.

-REPETITION-  Now, if you're ANYTHING like me, this is your least favorite.  Who on earth likes repeating themselves?  NOT me!!!!  But, for a baby/toddler/kid repetition is how they learn BEST!  Have you ever finished a book only to hear your munchkin ask you to 'Read it again, Mommy!'??  I sure have.  I don't always do it, but I should!  She gets WAY more confident answering my questions and anticipating what will come next when we've read the books many times.  PLUS, kids find comfort in familiar things, so reading the same books is FUN for them!

-APPLYING- Using your imagination is what makes a book so fun, and applying what we know already in life is how we use our imagination!  At three, most of my daughters ideas are based on the pictures in the book.  If the characters look sad, she makes a sad face and tells me they're sad.  It's a great idea in your retelling to relate the story back to the child, and ask how they felt or how they would feel.  EXAMPLE: (In the story, they are calling Sally names.)  "How do you feel when people call you names?  How do you think Sally feels?"  Gets conversations started and opens up their imagination.

Whew... I feel like I'm back in school again thinking about all of this stuff.  I hope that SOMETHING on the list was helpful to you or something that you could see yourself using at home with YOUR little ones!!

Well, with Christmas right around the corner and lists being made, I thought it might be fun to use each other and share some of our FAVORITE children's books.  Sure, they might not be on a list.  Maybe never won an award, BUT they are kid (and mom) tested and approved.  Plus, who would know better than a mom?

[email protected] a picture of books or your reading with your kids or WHATEVER!  I can always update the post :-)

Silly Faces: See Me at the Circus!

The kids LOVE this one because we all put our faces in the hole and make silly faces... LOTS of giggling with this one!! :)

Cuddle for Little Duck (can't find it on Amazon, super sweet book)


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