Welcome to part 2 of the Learning to Read Series! (See part 1 here~ Making books accessible.)
Make reading part of your routine. There is so much to be gained from reading with your child every day~
- Children get quality time with you and, thus, develop a positive connection to reading.
- Young children learn the basics of how to read books (turning pages in the correct order, difference between words and pictures) by watching you. Even Theo at 15 months loves turning the pages!
- Children learn to read with expression by paying attention to how you are reading. They don’t learn to view reading as a chore, but as something fun.
- Children learn the importance of reading just by watching or helping you do simple things like read a recipe or the newspaper. They are soaking in each and everything we do!
- Reading together is the perfect opportunity to talk, cuddle and build language skills all at the same time!
We have interactions with stories and books built into our weekly routines here at home. The area where it’s the most apparent is in our nightly routine. Both Theo (15 months) and Lucy (4 years) have stories as part of their bedtime routines. We used to try to read books to them together at night, but Theo’s attention span is much shorter than Lucy’s. We usually get Theo ready first and put to bed, then spend time together with Lucy. It’s actually worked out nicely that way because each child ends up getting some special time alone with one or both parents. And sometimes Lucy even likes to read some of Theo’s nighttime books to him!
Theo’s Bedtime Routine~ Gets his jammies on (I guess I should actually say we put on his jammies), has some milk, reads board books (of his choosing) with Mommy or Daddy, then has his teeth brushed, blows kisses and off to bed with some songs.
Lucy’s Bedtime Routine~ Gets on jammies, chooses 3 books to have read to her (sometimes she likes to read parts of them to us), read together with Mommy and Daddy, teeth, and off to be tucked in. And then somehow over the years she’s managed to have us also tell her a story in bed (Daddy is definitely best at this- his are much more creative. Mine usually involve summaries of the day or some type of hidden lesson) and then sing 2 songs (which Lucy also occasionally dictates strict requirements as far as what tune they will be sung to and what the topic will be.) Those first borns sure know how to work us over!
We also have books worked into other parts of our day. Both kids have books as part of their rest time routine in the afternoon. Before Theodore naps, he chooses board books to put in his crib to ‘read’ before falling asleep for his nap. Lucy frequently reads in her room during her 45 minute rest time.
There are other times books are loosely woven into our day or weeks. We try to go to our local library once a week. That is really one of our favorite outings! Lucy sometimes has certain subjects she’s looking to find books on, or other times she’s really just wanting to browse all the picture books. Theo, on the other hand, is spending some time looking at books, but mostly running around and seeing how much destruction he can cause before I catch him! (I will say library outings have become quite a bit more exhausting since he’s learned to walk!)
Lucy also has several magazine subscriptions that she’s received as gifts from her Grandma and Grandmommy. She loves getting mail, and there’s nothing better than getting some things in the mail to read!
Sometimes at home, especially on the weekends, we have family reading time. My husband and I are avid readers, and it’s nice to not only model our enjoyment of reading, but it’s fun to see Lucy enjoying the peaceful time with books as well. (Lately, this has mostly been done while Theo is napping~ he’s not quite ready for a long period of reading on his own!)
I’ve found that having reading worked into our daily and weekly routines has ensured our kids are exposed to the joys of reading all the time with really no effort on our part. I’m hoping our love of books and reading has passed on to them with our special times throughout the days! I think when you add this with the previous post of having books accessible to them all day, children will will develop a love of books without even directly having to be taught. Once they begin formal schooling, having books all around them will be a natural thing.
See you soon for part 3 in the Learning to Read series!
Lucy growing up with nighttime stories~
More from the Learning to Read Series:
Part 1- Making Books Accessible
Part 3- Following Your Child’s Lead
Part 5- Maintaining an Interest in Books