Monday, August 8, 2011

When To Read Books Rather Than Stories To Your Children

Initially, start out reading a short story or just telling a familiar story (like The Three Bears ) to your babies and toddlers. They have short attention spans but will respond to the pictures, the inflections in your voice, and certain words as they ask you to read or tell again and again the same story. Toddlers are very smart so if you try to skip a page or change words in the interest of time (getting them to sleep faster, for example), they will call you on it after they are familiar with the story. They will also know when you have read the words that mean it is time to turn the page. Children are just short people and much smarter than adults sometimes expect them to be at such early ages. When you tire of reading the Little Golden Book variety of stories, then read a book consisting of a number of chapters. When I had 2, 4, and 6 year-old children it was not always easy to find a short story that appealed to all of them. I decided to read Dr. Doolittle to them, and we did it night after night, chapter by chapter. The book is much, much better than any film version They remembered where each chapter stopped, and they would beg for another chapter when the one for the evening had been read. Even the two-year old would sit and listen as raptly as the older children did. When we had completed Dr. Doolittle we went on to The Bobbsey Twins which was a good choice because the key characters are both boys and girls and two different age groups. The author made the stories appealing to little ones as well as children already in elementary school. There is an entire series of Bobbsey Twin books, and we read through all of them. Not only did these reading sessions foster a love of books in my children, but also gave them a nightly ritual which made bedtime pleasant. Require baths taken, teeth brushed, and pajamas on before reading to them. Asking for promises to go right to sleep after the chapter for the night is read makes for peaceful evenings, regular bedtimes, and first understandings of what a promise is. If you start out reading or saying nursery rhymes to a baby (even as young as 4 or 5 months old) he or she will be soothed by the cadence of your voice. If you are reading from a book a baby will actually be attracted by the colors of the pictures. Being read to from early on can help a child learn to talk and sometimes when you least expect it. You may reach a certain page of a familiar story, and a little child will suddenly repeat a word after you which makes for a very special and memorable moment. As children grow up they will remember the books you read together, and if reading is something they enjoy they will be more successful in school since reading is the basis for every subject they will be taught. Time flies and before you know it children are in school, and you will have wonderful memories to last a lifetime if you regularly read to them.

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