Reading aloud improves parent-child bonding
Do you read aloud with your children? What type of books do you read? I confess I would like to spend more time reading aloud with my children, but somehow by the time homework is done and everyone is ready for bed it’s too late or I forget to take time for reading aloud with my children (at this point, my husband one of the 6 readers of this blog is laughing out loud).
Reading aloud with your children should be fun and special time. If your schedule permits, you could read in the morning after everyone wakes up, but most likely reading aloud time is best done in the evenings. Evening reading time allows for time away from TV and other electronic devices and should help relax your children for sleep.
Make Reading Aloud Time Special
- Start with a short reading time of 15-20 minutes (my children are squirmy and won’t sit still for long even at night). Gradually add 5 minutes every few weeks until your reach 30-40 minutes.
- Reading time should be quiet and calm. Find the perfect place to read. I have a favorite chair, but reading on the couch where the children can sit or lay down more relaxed seems to work better. Let the younger children bring a favorite doll or stuffed animal with them to hold.
- Help everyone enjoy the story. Set expectations. Is it okay to interrupt with questions in the middle of reading or if questions should be discussed at the end of the chapter? Personally, I prefer to have all the questions at the end of the chapter, but your family may be different.
- Choose a book all your children can enjoy (consider their ages). Toddler and preschool age may prefer books with more pictures or Dr. Seuss and rhythming style books. Classics are great choices such as Beverly Cleary books or Laura Ingalls Wilder for elementary age. Older children may be able to read Shakespeare or The Hobbit. Try choosing a series of books you can read together.
- Discuss the characters and events in the story. What lessons can be learned from the characters? Show your children how to apply the choices the characters make to their own lives (positive outcomes from good choices and recognition of the consequences of bad choices).
- Teach character lessons by reading from the Bible and a children’s devotional book.
Reading together aloud with your children creates great family memories and traditions. I have only spent a little time reading aloud with my children (but I will be starting again). When we have read a book together, we read a book I never read as a child (but wanted to read). We all enjoyed the story. We still talk about it sometimes. This book happened to be made into a Disney movie, I would like to rent for Family movie night soon too.
Reading together also encourages children to read on their own and shows them reading can be fun.
What are you reading with your children? What books have you read that you like or disliked?