Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Why read with your children? (Plus a giveaway!)

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I love September. Even though it has been 3 years since I left my 2nd grade classroom, I still get all tingly inside at the thought of freshly sharpened pencils and new glue sticks. Back to school time is such an exciting time of year, and a great time to get back into good routines. No matter what age your children are, one of the most important habits you can form as a family is to read together every day.

Obviously there are myriads of reasons we should read with our children. Today I give you my
top 13 reasons.

Why read with your babe?
(1) Even an infant who can barely sit up can develop an interest in books. It is never too early to get them loving literature!

(2) Reading to your baby can help them improve their attention span from an early age. If you have read to your child since he was a baby, chances are, by the time he is a toddler he will be able to sit on your lap and hear stories for hours on end. He'll also do great at your local library's story time. (Note: I know all children are different and some have naturally better 'sitting still' skills than others! But I think we can often improve that if we start early enough.)

Why read with your toddler or preschooler?
(3) They are sponges! They are so capable of learning and understanding and memorizing and recalling. This is such a critical time to teach children to realize how much books teach and the magical worlds that books open.

(4) Experiencing reading with their parents gives toddlers and preschoolers an understanding of the basic reading skills like which way to hold and open a book, reading left to right, top to bottom, etc. You would be surprised how many kindergarten students are handed a book in an assessment and don't have a grasp on these basic concepts.

(5) Even a 2-year-old can begin to master letter and word recognition. Obviously this is one of the critical beginning steps in learning to read. It's a basic principle of exposure. The more they see it, the more they recognize and understand.

(6)The more stories they hear, the more their imagination is fueled. One of the most rewarding things in my life is hearing my 3-year-old acting out a story we have recently read together.

Why read with your elementary-school-aged child?
(7,8) As you read with your children after school they see that it is important to you and you reinforce the skills being taught in school.

(9) In addition to listening to your child read, you should read to him. This way you are modeling correct pronunciation, pace, expression, etc.

(10) Listening to your children read helps you assess where they are and what they need practice with. No matter how much a teacher works with your child at school, your help is a must!

(11) The most fun benefit--reading together is great for family bonding!!



Why read with your tween or teen?

I know what you're thinking. "Seriously? I'm supposed to read aloud with my teenager?" Yes! Obviously you know your child and whether this would work or not, but I think you might be surprised. Here are some reasons I think you should try:

(12) Again, bonding. When I was going through some awkward and difficult times in my early teens, my mother would come snuggle up to be before bed and we would read together.
This brought me comfort and solidified my relationship with my mother in a time when I wasn't sure who I was or who my friends were.

(13) YOU NEED TO KNOW WHAT THEY ARE MARKETING AS JUVENILE LIT!! Even in all bold caps I cannot state this with enough passion! Let me be frank. There are some extremely powerful people in the literary world who are trying to push boundaries on what is appropriate reading material for your teens. A couple of years ago there was a book that won a very distinguished award, and was being sold in the children's section of major bookstores, that contained extremely vulgar language and graphic sexual images. You need to know what your children are reading! Read with them!

A couple of days ago, after a whole summer of traveling, hosting family company, and throwing any sort of routine to the wind, I sat down with my 3-year-old, Blaine, and asked him to choose some books to read. A horrifying thought struck me. "I can't remember the last day that Blaine and I read together." I knew it was time for a fresh start. I hope you will plan a time each day to read with your children. I know your days are full and busy, just like mine, but reading is about as important as it gets. And it's so enjoyable! Revel in the magic together.
--Anne



And now...one of you lucky readers can get a little boost to your children's library. Leave a comment for a chance to win a package of 5 classic hardback picture books. Let us know if you put our button on your blog, and we'll give you a second entry in the giveaway!

64 comments:

Annie Atkin Rasmussen said...

Wow - this post brings back some vivid memories for me. When I was a "tween," I read some junky, junky literature. My parents had no idea. Great idea to keep a look out!

This list is amazing. Great work!

katy said...

Thank you for the motivation to do better reading with my almost 10 and 13 year old. I agree you really have to watch what your kids read as they get older. I am surprised at some of the things my girls friends read.

Anna said...

We've got a button. Thanks for the reminder about reading with the kids. I like the idea to read with them when they are older, too!

Bloom said...

I hope my tweens/teens will snuggle up and let me read to them. Reading to my children is one of my favorite things about being their mother.

Rachael said...

I cannot agree more with this post--one of the things on my to-do list every single day is to read with my kids. If it's a super-busy day, we just read for 15 minutes, but often we'll sit and read for as long as they'll sit still. With kids of different ages and interests, I've found it helpful to let each pick a stack of books and then we alternate back and forth, so each child feels like they're getting to hear their "pick." This also helps my younger daughter develop a longer attention span as she listens to the much longer books my four-year-old picks out.

Another suggestion--I've found that incorporating storytime into nursing sessions is a great way to make sure that stories don't fall by the wayside with a new baby--plus it keeps the kids from tearing up the house!!

Rachael said...

oh--and I have the button!

Alissa said...

Ooohh--I'm all about reading with my babe.

Heather said...

Great tips! I love reading and devoured books when I was younger. I hope to instill that same love of books for my kids when they arrive. I just installed a shelf in the nursery for the twins to have oodles of books and currently have only one! What a great giveaway.

Your cute button is on my blog. (private)

Nicole said...

Oh--I taught high school all last year, and I already miss the excitement this year. Our baby girl is due in December, and I would love to add to her (somewhat little) collection of books. Also, I just love children's books, and can't wait to read them with her.

I'm adding a button to my blog as we speak...or after I comment :).

Deanna said...

I couldn't skip reading to my daughter if I wanted to. She begs and begs :) I'd love to win some more books! sprklyblue at gmail.com

Katie said...

I have a button of course! Woohoo for reading!

danielle said...

Great post! I am amazed at how much Avery gets from books already. Little sponges those kids are. She even has a favorite...Baby Danced the Polka. It's rhymey and fun, and she always grabs it from the shelf when I ask her if we should read a book.

lizl said...

I loved what you said at the end about how busy we are -- another great reason to read to kids. A few minutes when we slow things down each day and get off the "hamster wheel" so to speak. I have a hard time trying to fit this in sometimes and have been trying to read to my three-year-old while I nurse my baby. I'm sure lots of people do that, but just a thought.

Linds said...

I couldn't agree more with this post. With two deaf children I was encouraged to read often with them to build their vocabulary. Now my six year-old is a grade-level ahead of his peers in reading and at night we are reading "Where the Red Fern Grows" together and his Dad reads "Huck Finn" to him when he's home. It truly makes a difference to start early.

Oh, and I'm lovin this site and put your button on my blog.

Amy Jean said...

I have a button on 2 blogs! And I needed this reminder.

jeanine said...

My boys LOVE to read! I'm so glad... cause I love it!
And reading with your teen isn't so bad. I remember my dad reading great books to us. My favorite? Little Women (we had 4 girls in our family!)
Oh... and I have your button!

Sarah R. said...

I love this post. One of the greatest things about forming a reading habit with my oldest is watching him try to instill his love of reading into his younger siblings.

Ginger said...

Thanks for the post. I love reading with my kids. My 6 year old and I are reading "The Lion, the witch, and the wardrobe" right now and we've had a good time discussing the wardrobe and that it's magic and that there isn't just a hole in the back of it that led outside!

EmilynDev said...

Such a cute blog! I taught 3rd grade untill we had kids! I am adding a button right now!

Mel said...

Thanks for these reminders. With such a hectic life, we sometimes forget how important it is to just sit and read with our son (well, at least for the few minutest that he will actually sit with us:)).

Jen said...

Amen to all of that. As a former 8th grade teacher (but not yet a mother) I can definitely support #13. If nothing else, reading with your kids helps you filter the media your kids are exposed to.

And I'm adding a button to my blog...now. :)

Katrina said...

great tips! And of course I have a button.

Melanie said...

Great site and wonderful reminders, thanks Anne!

Emily said...

What a great giveaway! I would love to win!

Elizabeth said...

OH I miss the classroom!! But reading to my kids makes up for it in some ways. We LOVE books! (and I love this blog already)

Jason and Rachel said...

I love reading time with Kyla too! Love your insight Anne!!

Joan said...

Button...CHECK
Reading to my kids daily (well, how about 6 out of 7 days)...CHECK
:)

Amanda said...

Great post!! Hope I win :) I tweeted it for ya

tara said...

hm, going to try to post this comment again, apologies if it is a repeat.

so far i think my puppy is more of an eager-reader than my baby, but we keep trying, and the puppy keeps chewing...

i heart your badge and header -- may i ask who did the design? mine is still naked.

off to add your button!

Dan and Michelle said...

Great Post! First time mom here and you gave some great advice. I added your button to my site. Thx.

Rosalee said...

I too am a former teacher. I taught kindergarten for a year and then quit to stay home with my son. One of my favorite things is how my 1 year old son will go into his room and sit and look at books for at least 10 minutes at a time. We definitely love books here! I've added your button to my blog. I hope I win! Thanks so much!

Brianne said...

Great reminder at something I need to do a little better with. Love the whole idea of this blog... thanks for sharing! Got your button on mine!

Stefani M. said...

I just love it when my 1-1/2 year old comes to me with a book saying, "Weed, weed!" Feels good to know I've already instilled a love of books.

Kate said...

Charlie and I love to read together. We'd love some new reads. Good list! My mom and Meggie read together all the time. So cute I think!

of course I had to add your cute button to my blog!

The Armstrong Article said...

pick me! I have two beautiful little minds to fuel!

Kristen said...

Thanks for the reminder! I do library storytime weekly and try to read to my 1-year old once a day. He doesn't always sit for the story but at least he sees me with a book in my hand and can look at the pictures and hear the associated word if he's playing nearby. This is a great prize for any child. Thanks so much for the chance!

Christina said...

Thanks for the reminder. We love reading at our house!

Kristen said...

Oh, I forgot to mention that I grabbed your button and put it on my scrolling blogroll:

http://goodie-goodie-gumdrops.blogspot.com

lori said...

I love your passion for reading, Anne - it is positively contagious!

Amy said...

Anne, I have been reading your blog and Emily's for a long time. Thank you for the reminder of why I need to improve my reading time with my 3 year old. BTW, your button is on my blog.

Emily said...

Oooh, look at all these comments! yay! Thanks for the reminder of how important reading is. Sometimes I forget that when I have read the same book over and over and over again! (button and shout out on my blog!)

Vicky said...

I'm so glad I read this post just as we were about to head to the library! We have been reading tons this summer, and I love to see my little 1 year old flipping through books on the floor as if it's his favorite thing in the world!

Megan said...

Yay for books! While I completley agree, I cannot enter this giveaway because one of my children does nothing but tear books apart if left unsupervised. But I love that you are doing this for others and wanted to offer my support!

annie said...

I miss the classroom too. There is something so special about this time of year. We read with Stone every night (and most days too) because he absolutely loves it. He'd rather read than play with toys and for that I am so grateful!

We've got a button--does that make us cool?

Claire said...

Thanks for this post! Reding is so important. We read lots at our house. When she was a wee babe it was bath, book, bottle, bed. No book, and the routine was shot. I'm glad that no matter what we do each evening a book is factored in to the plan without a doubt.

Elizabeth said...

I agree! This is a great blog - I'm looking forward to all the great ideas & information. Thanks!

Gail said...

Excellent post... don't have anything more to add! It's all so true.

Marie W said...

I have been following your blog for a while, thanks to a recommendation from Lori - mutual friend and formerly HA associate. I love the premise for the new blog Bloom and completely relate to both your love of literature and the yearning that comes with September for all things school. My 4-year-old is going to preschool this year, and I LOVED buying glue and markers for his classroom.

Consider me a follower, and I would love a chance at the giveaway!

Cami said...

I love reading with my baby. He is a very active kid but enjoys sitting and reading. He also loves it when I read while he plays. I added a button to my blog: http://acandiedapple.blogspot.com

Tara said...

I have been trying to read to my now 16-month-old since she was born and FINALLY, she will sit and read a few books a time. We love it so it would awesome to add more books to our collection, thanks!
Tara Dodge

Jen said...

I totally just love Anne and how much you inspire me! I would love to add the button but don't know how. Sad I know!

Kristy said...

I loved how you thought reading was important, even for infants. I have a 9 month old, and he may only sit through a few pages, but I try to do it at least once a day. What a bonus if it helps improve his attention span. I'm so excited about your new blog!

Jami Jackson said...

I really am enjoying this blog. I've put your button on my blog so I hope my community will read it too. Thanks for all the good list of why reading is great. I appreciate it a lot!

J.D., Micah, {and} Jonnie said...

I read to my 5 month old and she loves it already!

And yes... I added your button to my blog!

Barb @ getupandplay said...

I'm loving Bloom!!!

Barb @ getupandplay said...

I added the button to my blog

getupandplay.blogspot.com

Nikki Douglas said...

All these points are so true! Either my husband or I have been reading to our 6 year old since about age 3 almost every night out of habit and about age 5 she started begging to listen to WHOLE CHAPTERS AT A TIME of abridged illustrated classic editions (the $1 kind at Walmart). I can't quite believe it myself...me who despised classics because I wasn't introduced to them until it was uncool to like what your parents liked...one of my first grader's favorite books is Little Women. Sometimes I start dreading reading to her when I'm too tired or want time for myself, and then I remember that it won't be too much longer before I'll be begging her to spend time with me. So I push on.

I'm putting the button on my blog:
http://douglasjournal.blogspot.com/

So looking forward to your blog!

Nola said...

We love reading at our house! I started reading to my 22 month old before he was born. He now has a very extensive vocabulary and really does absorb everything we talk or read about. We catch him "reading" some of his favorite books almost word for word because he has them memorized.

Jonesy said...

So I'm fairly new to blogging and have never attempted to add a button--can you tell me how to do it?

Valerie said...

i would love to win these books and have some fun new reading material for my boys. And I am adding your button to my blog right after I post this, so enter me twice pretty please ;)

Marlo said...

Oh please please please pick me. Please please. And ditto to everything you wrote. Good job Anne. you rock. And I'm putting up a button.

rowberries said...

So I told a parent this last week I was a little concerned about how he only knows one letter and the response was "well yeah, he's never been to school." I was shocked-apparently you can't learn unless you are in school nowadays! This is a great post and I loved it! We are working on putting up the button (it's not working for some reason!). Thanks Anne!

Mrs. Cropper said...

For Jen and Jonesy, and anyone else who needs: to add the button, go into your page layout and select "add a gadget." Then choose "html/java script" and paste the html for our button in that content box. Click Save and that should do it. Let me know if you need further help. (And I'll put your name in twice!)
--Anne

Crapos said...

Why is it that my children are so much more calm and well-behaved when we read together? We would love to have more books to share.