Are you aware of all the benefits?
- The bonding and closeness of cuddling up on the sofa creates a strong relationship.
- It helps develop their vocabulary, comprehension and listening skills.
- They are more likely to read more on their own as they grow up.
- Once in school, they will be more prepared to learn.
- Encourages curiosity and creativity.
Yes, I know you can read. If you couldn't you wouldn't be here on my blog. Duh.
I'm talking about active reading with your child. When you read a book, you might be telling a story, but the best way for your child to learn is for you to really display what the story is about. I'll give you a few examples so you get the idea.
Let's start with an alphabet book. At a young age, these are usually books that simply show each letter and a picture that begins with it. An A would have an apple next to it, and so forth. The way to turn this into an actual learning experience is to spend a moment on each page talking about what you see. Help your child trace the letter with his finger. Point to the letter where it's found in the word. What other words start with "A"? Talk about the color of the apple. Where can you find apples? At the store? In a tree? This is also a great technique for making the book have a different story every time you read it.
How about a book with a moral? The Berenstein Bears and the Little Critter books are some of our favorites that usually tell a tale that ends in some sort of lesson. As you read, take the time to find out if your child understands what is happening. Ask if a character is mad, sad or happy and why. Point to different parts of the pictures to discuss what is going on. Ask if your child knows what will happen next or what the character should have done. This is great for instilling good morals and decision making.
Another category of books to read, my personal favorite, are Dr. Seuss books. Any silly, funny, nonsense type story that may not appear to have a lesson can still help your child learn. Name colors in the pictures. Ask your child if she thinks that could really happen. Have them repeat a word or phrase that seems silly for a good laugh and a great lesson in pronunciation. (Fox in Socks is superb for this one!)
Learning doesn't start at school, it starts in your home. When you build a strong foundation before sending them off to school, they are much more likely to succeed. If you feel like life is too busy to sit down and read, make sure to at least do it at bedtime. A bedtime routine helps your child settle down and fall asleep easier each night. They will even be less likely to put up a fight when it's time to get their pajamas on because they know it means some quality time with mom or dad.