There is something magical about pulling out a book and reading it aloud to the children. Whenever we pull out an old storybook or a library book, the kids huddle around to hear Mom or Dad (or big sister or brother) reveal the sense behind the colorful pictures.
Here are some key practices we’ve developed in reading to the children, especially young ones who don’t yet know how to read.
- Establish a consistent time. Most people read in the evening as we do. We read in the morning, during school. Mom reads aloud through a storybook.
- Make reading natural. In other words, avoid “making” them read. This is especially true for young boys. Turn reading into a natural event in the family, rather than a schooled discipline.
- Point to words that they might be able to read. Ask often, “What does this say?” and make it a challenge for them.
- Seldom say “no” to the child with a book. This takes discipline, but we try very hard to honor the child with the picture book. We have a goal for every one of our children. Before they turn 2, we never say no to them when they bring us a book to read to them.
- Have ample books lying around. There’s always a stack of them on the coffee table. The bookshelf is easy to access. Books are everywhere.
- Throw out the “stupid” books. There are a lot of poorly written books, and we toss them when we discover them.
- Cuddle. We own comfy leather couches and a recliner, and we own these on purpose.
These are ideas to help make reading a central part of your family. It has helped over the years build an appreciation for the skill. Do you have some best practices? Post them below.