When is the last time you read your child a bed time story?
A child’s ability to read leads to a wealth of success in all other areas of their academic and social life. Providing children with the right attitude towards reading can affect the rest of their life.
The greatest gift is a passion for reading.
The importance of bed time stories
Do not underestimate the importance of a bed time story. In order to help your child with language development, comprehension and speech, you should spend quality time reading together.
In my experience as a teacher I have found that those children who are read to each night have a better ability to spend time looking at books, will choose book reading as a play time activity and will develop simple comprehension skills more readily than those children who are not read to.
Emilie Buchwald supports this statement:
Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.
Reading books helps children develop their use of language
Reading books assists with speech development and the child’s use of speech as they will be subject to hearing new words and having opportunities to use these words when re-reading familiar stories.
It is ok and actually better to re-read your child’s favourite stories. This provides your child with opportunities to join in with familiar phrases and parts of the story. Encourage this by pausing and looking to your child before you read that repetitive line. Through this repetitive approach children will develop confidence with reading as they can join in and will begin to recognise some simple words.
Children love to be read to
When children are asked about their favourite story, it is often one that they have shared with a parent/ grandparent at bed time on more than one occasion. Children appreciate the time and efforts we make when reading with them. There is always a cheer of excitement when I reach story time in school. Maybe that is because it often signals home time! But I must say that children get very involved with the stories and often want another.
In order to help gain and keep a child’s attention when reading you should make use of your facial expressions, gestures and voice as you read. The more exciting you make it by these simple tools, the more your child will continue to listen.
There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all.
Some ways to enlarge your child’s world
1. Set a family reading time
Have reading hour/half hour or even 10 minutes two or three times a week.
In this time all members of the family should read something of their choice. If your child wants to read a comic or a new game cover that is fine. As long as they are reading. Pre readers should have a picture book or book with few words and plenty of stimulating pictures.
In this set time all family members should be encouraged to have their own thinking / uninterrupted time with their choice of reading material. All other distractions should be removed such as tv radio etc.
Afterwards you should chat about what you have read or learned. Don’t feel obliged to give an in-depth book review. Just use simple language to make a general comment.
2. Share stories together
Reading is wonderful at bed time as it relaxes your child and helps them drift off. It also provides routine, something which all children need. They will learn that after a story at bed time we go to sleep- great help for parents finding it difficult to get children to bed.
3. Reading does not only have to occur at bed time
It can be a great day time activity too, especially on a rainy day. Books provide enjoyment and can lead to other activities such as drawing part of the story, making a den/house/prop mask from the story, acting out a little scene.
How often do you read to your child? How do you encourage reading in your home?