Saturday, August 13, 2011

Reading To Our Children

As parents, we are bombarded with advice on educating our children; homeschool, public school, private school, or tutoring. It's an endless debate that we all participate in at some point. However, I think we can all agree on one thing: we want our children to have an appreciation for reading and literature. This can prepare them for college, working and life in general. So, how do we accomplish this?

Start Early

You are pregnant, and friends and relatives start planning the showers or asking about gifts. Of course, start out with the things you need the most. But, then ask for a good lullaby book, a book of rhymes and a few of those indestructible cloth and plastic books for babies. As you go through those months of waiting to have that precious baby, practice those lullabies and recite those rhymes. Story telling is an art every parent can learn. If you read in monotone, too fast or too slow, kids lose interest. Read like you would want to be read to! That little one in your womb will love the vibration of your voice and you will get some needed practice.

Books, and more books...

Children need to be around books. They need to learn that books are special. You can do this by teaching your children to take care of their stories. If you see them writing in one gently but firmly tell them "no". When they are older talk with them about putting them on a special shelf or drawer in their room. Make the books accessible, and trust them to take care of them.

You will find that you can quickly gather a collection of good kid's books by looking at garage sales, finding deals on the internet and asking Grandma and Grandpa to buy books instead of toys! Always be on the look out for books. The library is a great free resource for books, and you can take advantage of story telling time too.

By Our Example

The best thing we can do as parents is set examples for our children. If they see us reading, and enjoying books they will want that too. My parents were avid readers during my childhood. We went to the small library in our town often, and we had encyclopedias that were always fascinating to us. We loved reading! When I went away to college I found out my roommate had one book with her. One. She didn't leave them at home. She simply didn't own any. She looked at reading as a "chore". Her parents did not set an example, and she had no interest in reading.

Story Time

Set up story times for your children. We always read one or two books and sing songs before bedtime. Every night, no exceptions. If time is tight for some reason, pick a small book. You can read at other times, and when your children start school they will read in class. Your story time needs to be a special time that is never pushed aside. When they are older they can take turns reading too. I believe this is a tradition that will make an impression on your children. It is a special time they will never forget. We have all heard the expression "comfort food". Wouldn't it be nice if your children grew up and had "comfort books" that they could share with their own children?

Your child's perception of reading is based on the example you set.  Make it a good one...for their sake.

About the Author:
Brenda Hyde is a freelance writer and mom to three kids living in the Midwest. For more gardening fun visit her at Old Fashioned Living

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