Here is what we know are some of the benefits to books and reading with your children:
AAP recommends you begin reading with your child almost from the moment of conception. By sharing the act of reading you are engaging in quality “time in” with your child, a technique for positive parenting. You are allowing them to connect in a positive way by sharing your time and they will associate that good feeling to the activity of reading. This helps to develop an interest in reading, hopefully leading to a lifelong commitment.
Early and frequent reading with your child will help you to establish good routines, especially bedtime routines. Make reading a story part of your quiet time before lights out to help your children wind down and get ready for bed, or any other time that things are getting wound up and you need to calm them down. The favorite in our house was Goodnight Moon when my children were really little. We had the rhyming words memorized, but it worked like a charm to calm them down. Now that Audrey is in kindergarten she likes to read books to us, sometimes reading the words and other times creating a magical story from the pictures on the page and her own imagination.
Reading is a quiet activity that you can teach your children to do by themselves, with each other or with you. It is a handy activity that requires no batteries and can travel with you.
Here are a few more tips to keep books at your fingertips so they are accessible and ways to use them to help your child develop.
- Carry small books in your diaper bag, purse or in the kids back pack. This is useful for those unexpected but common waiting times, grocery store line, physician office, or as an activity when a younger child is waiting and watching an older child’s activity with you. Another great time is when you are out at a restaurant and waiting for service.
- Stock your car with a few books that the kids can read while you are driving.
- Bath books are great to introduce some reading during bath time, potty time, or even to take to the pool. (Yes I am dreaming of warm summer days!)
- Have your children read books to each other. Have the school age child read to the younger children or ask them to allow the younger children to “read” to them. Teach the older children that the younger children learn a lot when they pretend to read and tell a story based on the pictures.
- Talk with your child while you are reading to ask them questions about the story. Who is the main character? What do you think is going to happen next? Why do you think that the main character made that choice? What would you do if you were the main character? This helps your child academically learn to process what they are reading. It also opens a window into your child’s personality and decision making.
- Read fiction and non-fiction with your children. Take the opportunity to both expand their imagination and teach them about real world events, places and people. To get ideas about what non-fiction to read, use the calendar or your vacation ideas.
- Don’t forget to check out your local library as a resource and also for reading times! Go ahead, be off on your way to soar to great heights by reading!