By Brandy Minikey
In today’s world of technology and busy lives, fewer of us are reading, in turn, we are not setting that example for our children. I ask all of your readers to join me in a pledge to read to our children every night this year.
Excerpts from the Child Trends Data Bank report on Reading to Young Children: “Young children who regularly read have a larger vocabulary. The number of words in a child’s vocabulary can be an important indicator of later academic success,” and “Children who lack a strong foundation of language awareness and literacy skills early in life are more likely to fall behind in school and are more likely to drop out. Shared parent-child book reading during children’s preschool years leads to higher reading achievement in elementary school, as well as greater enthusiasm for reading and learning.”
I admit I sometimes find excuses to skip the nighttime story at our house and I always get tears and groans. I give in because I am so happy that this is a routine they look forward to; but then I quickly read through the book and have even been known to skip pages to hurry the process along. I hate when this happens, but we just get so busy.
While the reading alone is critical to my children’s development there is much more that can be incorporated into story time that will help them in life and education. I let my children examine and discuss the illustrations; “what do you see in the picture.” I let them tell the story; “what do you think happens next.” Or let them read the story; using the illustrations as a cue and hearing the same story over and over, they are soon able to tell you the story! I use the story to talk about values and lessons; “how do you think they feel?” “do you think this is a nice thing to do?” or “what was the result of his/her behavior?” There is a whole world of knowledge, imagination and adventure just waiting for our children to discover.
Need help finding books?
• Go to your local library; your librarian would love to direct you to age appropriate books for your children for free. And your children will love to pick out their own titles.
• Enroll your children, ages 0-3, in the new Dolly Parton Imagination Library program, for free, through the Montcalm Great Start Collaborative at www.greatstartmontcalm.org
• Trade with other parents; when you have heard “The Three Bears” for the 1000th time you may be ready to trade with someone else.
• Ordering books from Scholastic Book Clubs or Book Fairs is an inexpensive way to get good books for all ages. Contact your child’s teacher or the Montcalm Great Start Parent Coalition for more information.
• Garage sales, mom-to-mom sales and local book stores are also great resources.
Join me in making the pledge to read to our children every night for a year and we will all see the benefits.
Brandy Minikey is the Great Start Montcalm Parent Liaison.
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