3 Secrets for Reading to Your Child

Reading with kids can be one of the greatest pleasures in life.  Don’t miss it!

Believe that reading to your child is the best investment of your time 

You have to believe in it, down deep in your core. Believe it’s the best way to spend your time and it’s going to have the greatest benefits. 

It’s worth fighting for.  It’s worth preparing for.  The payoff is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. 

And what benefits are those?  Making meaningful and lasting connections with your kids through books, as Sarah Mackenzie so aptly put it. 

It’s easy to get sidetracked with things that are just blips on the screen.  Things that will be over quickly.  

Sometimes you have to walk away from work to make time for reading.  Believe that it’s important. There will always be work to come back to. 

If reading aloud is your favorite part of the day, the enthusiasm will be contagious.  

Find great books that please you and your child

Pick great books that you both love. 

Find books you like.  Find books you both like.  

“I am almost inclined to set it up as a canon that a children’s story which is enjoyed only by children is a bad children’s story. The good ones last.” – C.S. Lewis

It’s worth the time you put in searching and acquiring great books.

Two of my favorite sources are Read Aloud Revival’s list and Sonlight Curriculum’s list. I also have a couple lists for the youngest listeners. One Book a Month for Babies. And One Book a Month for Toddlers.

Another great resource is Sara’s checklist in what she looks for in a book for Sonlight Curriculum.

Don’t be afraid to abandon books that aren’t pleasing you both. 

Don’t worry about not finishing the book if the child loses interest.

Move on to other books if they don’t like the one you’ve chosen.

When reading to multiple ages at the same time, work to find books that please everyone.  

There are some books with universal appeal— great for any age, like the Chronicles of Narnia.  Young children, older children and adults will find appeal in the stories based on their knowledge and experience. 

Great literature and great art are the targets. 

Don’t be afraid of big words when reading to kids.  (Do you remember the soporific lettuce in the Peter Rabbit books?) They can take big words in stride.  That’s how they learn new vocabulary, in context. 

The great thing about children’s literature is that you can mix the classics that you loved as a child with some great new books that are being published today. 

Hide books you’re tired of. 

Follow the interests of the child, as long as they are interesting to you as well. 

Keep a steady stream of great books coming in—borrowed or bought. 

Keep great books handy. Fill up the baskets and bookshelves with great books next to all the comfy chairs and nooks. 

Be prepared to read repeatedly. 

Laps are made for reading. 

Delight and affection are the goals when reading to babies and toddlers. 

Make reading part of your routine

Have a regular library day every week.  That ensures that you always have new books in the house.  

Before nap time and before bedtime are great times to read to your child

After all school work is done if you’re homeschooling, or after all homework is done if kids go to school. 

Read aloud time was the favorite part of the school day when I was homeschooling.  It was our reward for getting everything else done.  We all looked forward to it. 

Grab a snack and something to keep their hands busy, especially when you move on to chapter books. 

Small amounts of time still pays dividends.

Don’t worry about not reading hours at a time, or even hours every week. Ten minutes every other day. That’s enough time to make memories. 

Sign up kids for summer reading programs and story time at the library, if it’s available in your area. 

Find a compfy spot to read. 

Create a book nook where reading happens.  A couch next to a bookshelf works well.  Or a window seat with built in storage.  Compfy places to sit, good lighting is important.  Book storage is a nice plus. 

Reading books on road trips is a great way to get a lot of books read.  You have a captive audience, and there’s a chance everyone’s getting bored, if they don’t have too many movies and electronic games to play. 

Long road trips was when we got the most reading done as a family.  Those weren’t necessarily easy trips.  But reading together is a good memory. There’s just something about the shared memory of a story. 

Keep reading long after they can read themselves. For any age of child, you can read to them at a more advanced level than they can read themselves.  

I’ve given my nieces and nephews books for Christmas and birthdays.  So many times I’ve missed the mark.  But, once in awhile I hit a home run.  I give a book that a kid devours.  That makes it all worth it. 

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