Hey friends who know kids (that should be about everyone)– Saturday we had a baby shower here for smart, articulate, beautiful Emily. For part of the morning, the 5 hostesses (all her mom’s age) decided to give a little “Mom Advice” to Emily, just starting out on this mothering thing. It felt a little bit like the fairies in Sleeping Beauty hovering around to bestow blessings on the new baby!! It really was a sweet time together– and here’s my advice on reading:
TEN TIPS FOR READING WITH KIDS
#1. Start early. One friend told me her mom read to her as an infant and since the baby wasn’t tracking stories quite yet, the mother read what she enjoyed– Shakespeare! Awesome. It’s never to soon to ladle all those sweet words and sounds into your baby’s head…
#2. For tiny readers, it’s all about rhythm, rhyme and repetition. That’s why most every 3 year old is content to to read Brown Bear Brown Bear or Hop On Pop over and over.
#3. Sing along books are great! Even my 3rd graders loved to chime in on The Lady with the Alligator Purse!
Nadine Wescott has a whole series of sing-along books that are whimsical fun.
#4. Work reading into your schedule– the obvious before bed slot or during lunch or a wake up story… The year Aaron was in kindergarten, we read every day while his sisters napped after lunch. A sweet memorable time together.
#5. Never be booklets! Always have a stash in your diaper bag or in the car or tucked in a backpack–so waiting for appointments or in line or in traffic, you can pull out a story!
#6. Some books are boring– Skip those!! Look for books with color and lively language and humor, lots of humor– Our favorite funny books include– I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More (naughty baby with a paintbrush) and Never Mail an Elephant (obvious foibles) and the Monster at the end of the Book (better read with the Grover voice!).
#7. Wear out your Library Card! Keep a fresh stack of books rotating through your house. Last summer for Grammy Camp, we had a Library Scavenger Hunt. We made an illustrated list — a book about a cat, a Dr. Seuss book, an ABC book… and rounded them up for a bagful of books to tote home.
#8. Talk about the books you read together– anticipate what will happen next. Ask which character is the most interesting, why? Imagine a different ending to the story.
#9. Bribing children to read is totally acceptable! We had summer reading charts that looked like large Candyland games with a family outing at the end for all who finished. And when we lived in Spain, someone mailed us a set of World Book Encyclopedias. I paid my boys 25 cents a page to read entries. When the kids were older, I would check out colorful library books on topics they enjoyed and leave them on the coffee table, pretty sure they would pick them up.
#10. Just keep on reading! As they get older and schedules get full, you have to be creative. On vacations, pick up a book that relates to your trip and read together. Jim Trelease (author of the amazing Read Aloud Handbook) would make his high school kids wash the dishes for their chores and then sit at the kitchen table and read to them! One year we had a 30 minute ride to school and read through The Hiding Place, Brother Andres, Tom Sawyer… to pass the commute.
So much joy in reading with kids– Hope your lap is fun of books and little “readers!” And one last picture– our little grand-girl Mae, a book lover.
Thank you to albinfo.ch for the illustration.