In all the parenting wisdom I possessed before I became a parent, I had the naive idea that raising a reader would commit them to a life lived in Lame Land. I truly hoped my future children would not be kids who spent their summers at the library with their nose in a book. You see, I was imposing my own childhood insecurities onto the children who I hadn’t even given birth to yet.
As a child, reading was a struggle for me because I was a slow reader and my reading comprehension was deplorable. I couldn’t relate to the kids my age who loved to read.
Thankfully, when I had my first mini man, we’d been showered with all sorts of children’s books, and I realized these stories were going to be new to BOTH of us. I hadn’t read much as a child, and was blown away by the artistry, humor, and richness in these highly addictive pages. Page after page, my confidence was building as I realized that it was fun reading these books and they were super easy to read too! I could actually read a book cover to cover in one sitting. Granted, these were books written on a preschool reading level, but let’s not digress on frivolous details.
Reading to my children became a favorite recurring element in our daily schedule. We were sharing time together in a fun way. And I found that the mini men were a fabulous audience who seemed to settle, calm, and intently listen to each book. Before long, we had read, re-read, and had straight-up worn out our books. We needed new books, and we needed a lot of them. And THAT’S when my infatuation with this foreign-to-me place began — The Library.
The Library no longer seemed like a dreary, lifeless place; it now seemed bursting with potential and bubbling with excitement. Yep, the girl who had formerly rolled her eyes and moaned at the very thought of that quiet, melancholy place had grown into the woman who was now on a first name basis with the librarians! Together, the mini men and I were devouring the entire lifetime works of authors, reading them together for the first time, and loving it. We couldn’t wait to read the next book to find out what was going to happen! Was Curious George going to make it back to the Man With The Yellow Hat? Would the Pigeon get to drive the bus? We were having so much fun that it seemed like just an unintentional coincidence that reading was actually positively impacting them developmentally.
Reading to your child is laden with perks. It helps their brain grow. It helps their imagination get a workout. It empowers them to single-handedly defeat boredom. It broadens their frame of reference. It helps them learn from a source other than you. It gives them a window beyond the scope of their own home. It dramatically helps them in school. It helps them with math. It helps them calm and settle on their own. It helps YOU settle, calm, learn, and grow, too!
In my personal opinion, reading to your child is as healthy for their brain’s growth as fruits and veggies are for their body’s growth. One of the best ways to spend time together, build relationship, positively impact your child’s academic future trajectory, and help establish a vital foundational skill is simply to read with them. They’ll love it when you let them read to you too!
Reading together is embedded with multi-faceted layers of educational implications and relational implications. Just think, in one story you can learn about their personal perspective while engaging their critical thinking.
Reading Comprehension Questions to Ask Your Growing Readers ::
- What do you think will happen next?
- What colors do you see on this page?
- What just happened in the story?
- How do you think this character feels inside?
- Why do you think that happen?
- What’s that one’s name?
- Do you think you’d play with that character if you saw them on the playground?
- Why do you think this author wrote this story?
- If you wrote this story, what would you have happen next?
Use the pages you’re reading to be a springboard for discussion and conversation. There is no app that can replace the intangible value steeped in your discussions as you deepen your relationship with your child by learning about their thoughts.
You may be like me and not be too keen on your own reading skills. But, remember, it’s not about you. You do not have to be a great reader or do the voices when you read to your mini humans. They just want to be with you. They just want to sit with you and hear the story. And, curiously they have no idea that their brain is growing as you read the words on the page! Give it a try, you never know, you may end up wondering what’s gonna happen next in the story, too.
Both my mini men were independent readers before they started kindergarten. On the first day of K5, my oldest couldn’t be coaxed into smiling for a pic because he was in the middle of reading a book that he was determined to finish before he got to school. My pre-parent fear of my child becoming a fan of the library and loving reading is, thank goodness, what became my reality.