Before they were born, I was reading to my children. When pregnant with my first daughter, I would read a children’s book to her every night before I went to sleep. Dr. Seuss authored a book called Oh, The Places You’ll Go and there’s a version of the book specifically for babies still in the uterus. Today, like many families, we read books every night before my children go to bed.
According to a study conducted by The Ohio State University, reading to young children not only allows for quality family time and an educational opportunity where children will mentally grow and develop, but it also teaches children an appreciation for books, enhances vocabulary and language development, develops creative thinking skills, and promotes reading as an enjoyable activity. Reading to young children on a regular basis also assists children in discovering their innate interests, which is a key step in the development of motivation.
A few techniques that I use when reading to my children include:
- Allowing my children to select the book we read together.
- Asking them, “What is it about this book that interests you?”
- Preview the front and back cover by asking, “What do you see here on the cover?”
- Ask, “What do you think this book is going to be about?” This question allow for development of the skill of prediction based on pictures and what a child might already know about a subject.
- Preview the book by simply looking at each page and the pictures and ask my children to describe what they see. “What do you think is happening on this page?” “What do you know about _____?” (The characters or pictures on the page.)
- As we preview the book, we also look for key words in the text that the child is using to describe the picture.
- Then we dive in and read the book. Before, during, and after the book, we synthesize what we read. We talk about what just happened, what is the problem in this story, who are the key characters, what did you just hear, and what do you think is going to happen next. This helps children see the meaning or big picture built by the sea of words.
- Make the reading fun and memorable. Read with enthusiasm and vary your pitch and tone. Use differing “character voices” while reading the book.
- Glide your fingers under each word as you read them out-loud.
- Ask your child to read the book back to you. Younger readers can re-read a book out-loud by using the visual cues (pictures), existing knowledge of the story and by relying on the audio stimulus you provided when you read the story to your child. The audio stimulus includes varying your pitch, volume, and tone and also using a variety of character voices.
Many of these techniques are valuable for any age child and ultimately help foster skills necessary for reading, writing, spelling, and more.
Coaching Inquiries: What are the simple things I can do to encourage my young reader? Who do you remember reading to you as a child? What made that reading experience so memorable? What did you enjoy most about that reading experience?
May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.
Christina Lombardo, PCC, CPCC (Christina@LifeTrekCoaching.com)
LifeTrek Coaching International
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