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You know WHY you should be reading to your kids…
Reading is such a fundamental component for every child. Anything and everything that you read to them is wonderful for them whether its books, the signs that you see around you, labels on boxes, etc. However, I’m a busy parent and I know you are too. If I’m going to sit down and read something to my child, I want it to be meaningful.
As a parent of a young child, you still have a lot of control over what your child is exposed to. Reading books that will stimulate their imagination and inspire them may have a more lasting impact than you think.
The importance of WHAT you are reading to them…
When you read books that have a message about kindness, you plant that seed in your child’s head. The same thing goes for books which teach the importance of family, teamwork, being a good friend and many other values. Each additional book nurtures this initial seed that was planted.
Books to teach your children at each stage…
My kids range in age from 5 – 14 years old so we have a wide range of books in our home. We also have some really old and tattered well loved books that have been favorites of each of my kids at different stages.
My oldest has autism and although he doesn’t read, he loves to be read to. He also enjoys flipping through picture books himself. Most 14 year old boys wouldn’t be interested in picture books, but because my son still enjoys them, all of my kids can enjoy a book together.
My son enjoys rhyming books; my guess is because it has a musical quality to it and he loves music. He also enjoys silly picture books which have funny characters doing things. He will smile as you read the book and will sit nicely through the reading. This connection of just being together and enjoying each other’s company is priceless.
I select books for them which have teachable moments for what I want them to learn. For instance, my youngest child is learning about rhyming in school and often will give me a word and ask me for words which rhyme. I chose some rhyming books and we will go through page by page and I’ll read the book and she will find the rhyming words.
Can’t forget the good ‘ol classics…
There are so many classic books out there that have stood the test of time:
Hold onto those shorter stories…
As kids grow older they will want longer stories, but don’t toss those shorter stories as they will be great for when your kids start reading and want to read to you. The toddler board books that your kids loved and memorized are perfect for this.
The child feels what it’s like to “read” a book aloud. This simple act of her reciting the book aloud to you, gives her the joy of reading and having your full attention. Offering words of encouragement here and there motivates your child to pick up another book.
These next books are so catchy that you will find yourself reciting them in your head because you have memorized them. After all, your child will want you to read this book a few hundred times so you can’t help but memorize them. Trust me, they are so fun that you won’t mind the fact that you will have this book on auto play in your head.
Books to introduce children to new concepts and languages…
Books are great for introducing new concepts and languages to your child, a few of my favorites:
Getting into chapter books…
My middle daughter is an avid reader now, but she didn’t start out that way. When she first started reading, she saw it as a chore but she loved being read to. I remember feeling bummed about it because I grew up loving to read.
My parents didn’t allow us to watch tv during the week so my head was often in a book. I reminded myself that she is her own person, not me, and if she doesn’t love to read then she doesn’t have to. But I would do my best to encourage her!
In order to encourage her to read more, I read chapter books with her and I read more than she did. It started out where I read 90% and she read 10%. This gradually shifted to where we took turns reading a chapter. Eventually she would be the main one reading to me. In fact, she would get so absorbed that she wouldn’t want to wait for me and would read ahead.
Over time, her love for reading blossomed on its own. An even greater benefit was that we bonded through reading. Sharing a book with your child is having an experience with your child that you can relive in many ways.
Books related to special needs kids…
The following books are great options if you have a special needs child in your life. The last two books are especially good for siblings to read. My daughter loved these books.
(Great book for siblings of children with special needs. This book is written from the 12 year old sister’s perspective, her brother has autism and this book sheds a light on the impact this has on their family.)
One of the great things about books is that you may talk about the book at the time that you are reading it. Why are the characters doing what they are doing? Would your child have done something different? Or something may come up months later and you or your child relate it to something that happened in a book that you read together.
Another fun thing to do is to ask your child how they would change the story, would they change the ending? Add different characters? This opens up their mind to their own storytelling and writing experience.
Teachable moments for parents too…
Not only are children’s books filled with teachable moments for kids, they teach us how to be better parents. They remind us of the importance of instilling important values into our children each day and even give us ideas as to how to do that.
One of my favorite books “Love You Forever” still brings tears to my eyes when I read it. It shows the beautiful love a mother has for her son and how he passes that on to his baby. The son sings to his baby the lullaby that his mother used to sing to him.
This left such a deep impression on me that I created a simple lullaby which I sing to my children each night. It is our favorite part of our bedtime routine and the highlight at the end of my day.
Finally, a great book which teaches children a love of reading is “Wild About Books”. I have a lot more books that I would like to add to this post, but if I do that, this post may never end. Stay tuned for a great list of books for adults.
How about you? What are your favorite books for your children? Please share in the comments below, I love discovering and talking about books.
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