The tech-driven world of today has many benefits for children. For some families that may not be able to afford a private tutor the internet today can even be like a personal virtual teacher. At times it can even take a child on a cultural tour of buildings far away in other countries. Maybe they can watch an archeology dig or an animal being born on a farm in real time. Our new reality is driven by technology. So, therefore, under the proper parental supervision, all is not terrible in the world or smartphones and laptops.
But, what many might consider terrible in our world today is the fact that the art of storytelling and reading books has been neglected. Books used to be a great birthday gift, yet today there are very few brick and mortar bookstores even around. I still remember going up the escalator holding the hands of my sons as we climbed high to the children’s book department at Barnes and Noble. I would sit back, watching them explore the world of books and observe the excitement in their eyes as they turned the pages.
Another part of life that is happening less and less is a trip to the local library. In addition to writing personalized fairy tales for the little ones, I teach pre-school. My little friends are 2-3 years old’s. One of the activities we do every year is about going to the library. We talk about how a book is a very special friend. We have them decorate their own canvas book bag. Each of the children receives their very own personal library card. The kids love it!
I know many millennial parents these days are trying very hard to limit screen time and understand the importance of their children reading a book. If you are clueless on how to develop this interesting look no further than this blog. Together we will help you get started!
- FIND A SUBJECT THAT YOUR CHILD IS INTERESTED IN
Adults and children in this area are the same. Only things we like hold our interest. So, if your little Princess is really into soccer these days a book about dance will probably not get her engaged in wanting to read.
- FIND AN AGE AND READING LEVEL APPROPRIATE BOOK
As a parent, grandparent and educator I am very conscious of the fact not every child reads at the same level as others their age. In today’s world of competition, this is hard for some children and parents to deal with. For the parents out there, keep in mind that at some point everyone, for the most part, reads at about the same level. You never hear the parent of an18-year-old say, “my son is reading at the college level”!
For the babies and pre-school children in your life go for the sound books and the books with big pictures. These are a great way to introduce books into their world and hold the attention of your young one.
- DEVELOP A READING ROUTINE
Pick a time in the day when your little Prince or Princess isn’t too tired or hungry to concentrate. Young children thrive on daily routines. This is why bedtime story rituals work so well. They know to expect a story after they get their pajama’s on. And, they know they are expected to stay in bed and go to sleep afterward, (fingers crossed, haha). So, by making reading part of their day it will be something they actually begin to enjoy and look forward to on a regular basis. At the beginning of the year in my classroom, we have our little ones go get a book from the library in our room when they are done with their snack. True, if you were to walk in our room for the first few weeks you would hear “now go get a book and sit down at your tushie spot” over and over and over again. But, after a couple of months, it is absolutely adorable how they just do it without hesitation.
- READ WITH A LOT OF ANIMATION IN YOUR VOICE
Think about how boring it is when you are listening to a speech delivered in a very dull monotone voice. To your little one that’s exactly how they feel without the enthusiasm in your voice when listening to a story. One of my favorite books to read to my class is “Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons”. I make a big deal about the word ‘POP’ as I’m reading the story. The kids laugh and can not wait for me to say the word. This creative way of communication shows them early how they too can make the words on paper exciting and come to life.
So, let’s turn off our phones, TV, computers and grab a couple of great books and sit with our children. Sometimes reading to them, other times each of you reading on your own. If we as parents set a good example about reading from the beginning it will eventually click.
I shared with you one of my favorite stories to read to a toddler. What are some of yours?