I am so excited to feature Carol Zook as my guest blogger today. Carol is a personal friend of mine with a love for reading, love for kids, and limitless creativity. She was inspired to write the following piece saying, “I’ve often heard, “My baby is too young to be read to. He just won’t pay attention.” However, she believes that any child will respond if given the right atmosphere, the right book and the right reader.” Thank you, Carol, for sharing with us how important it is to read to our children and the benefits they receive from it (besides all that wonderful one-on-one time)!
Read, Read, Read to Your…
- Babies begin to understand that pictures represent real objects.
- They enjoy playing “There is the …?” as you point to the pictures.
- Don’t need to have the script read word for word.
- They will associate cuddle/reading time with warm feelings. (And you will, too!)
- They will experiment with making sounds. This encourages talking.
- They will begin to hear rhythms, repetitions and rhymes. Nursery rhymes are a favorite.
- Grasping board books and cloth/vinyl books is a great small motor task.
- They enjoy bright simple pictures on solid backgrounds. This is wonderful visual stimulation.
- Reading can be done anytime and anywhere. It’s easy to change the activity when the child’s interest shifts.
- Toddlers like to repeat words, phrases and rhymes.
- They enjoy playing “Where Is…?” as they point to the pictures.
- They love to feel textures, lift flaps, place fingers through holes and push buttons to hear sounds.
- They love homemade books and family albums. Inexpensive 4” X 6” photo albums are great for making these.
- They love simple stories about real life experiences. (Going to Grandma’s, going grocery shopping, playing with a pet etc.)
- Preschoolers learn about print. (Print is words written down. English goes left to right and top to bottom. Words are separated by a space.)
- They benefit by having you run your finger under the word as you are reading.
- They can listen to the sound of words and notice parts that are the same or different.
- They can learn about language.
- They enjoy providing an action with a word. (Growling when they hear the word lion.) This expands their listening skills.
- They can find patterns and/or repetitive phrases
- They can learn to retell the story.
- They can put parts of the story in the proper sequence.
- They enjoy longer picture books and early chapter books.
School Aged Children:
- School agers can take responsibility for picking a book.
- They might like sharing reading time with you by reading every other page.
- They can use the “rule of 5” to choose a book. Have them read the first couple of pages of a new book. If they make 5 or more mistakes a page, suggest that you read that book to them. (Or pick another book. 2 or 3 mistakes a page is a comfortable reading level.)
- They enjoy discussing the characters or the plot and coming up with different endings.
- They enjoy knowing who the author and illustrator are and when the book was published.
Carol Zook grew up in a small town with two younger brothers. She realized she loved children’s books when she took Children’s Literature in college. One of her favorite parts of the school day was reading aloud to her classes. She misses that so much. Carol is God’s child, Vaughn’s wife and was a “3 hour mom” to over 1,500 Kindergarten students. She has been published in Pockets, The Secret Place, Guardian Angel Kids ezine, Learn Every Day About Numbers and Learn Every Day About Social Studies.
Reading to your children for just 20 minutes a day improves listening skills, increases academic performance, and strengthens parent-child bonds through the quality time together. Every day. 20 minutes makes a difference! And don’t forget to have Dad read to your child, too! They will get the same benefits from reading to the child as you do!