Reading Aloud with Your Kids: It's Worth It

 

Hi. 

I'm Adriane. I'm 33 years old. And I still give my mom grief about the fact that she fell asleep reading the Little House on the Prairie books to us every.single.day. 

Not that I can blame her. We'd sit in the sun in our dining room after lunch, and before Mom would get a page into the next chapter, she was nodding off and I was sitting there staring at her, wondering if I should wake her up or hope she'd jolt herself awake. 

Of course, now that I'm a mom, I get it. Post-lunch naps are the best -- if you can get them. 

But this isn't a post about sleepy moms and sunshine. It's a What We're Reading This Week: Micro Version (aka the kids' version). 

 

We have a lot of children's books, which I love, because we are a house of readers. The bookshelf in the kids' room is jammed full, so until we have more space, I packed up all the Halloween and Thanksgiving and Christmas books, not to be brought out until next fall when they will seem exciting and new. 

I've also started our own little version of a library cart. Hey. I have worked in three libraries in my life: during high school, during college, and during grad school. Let's just be happy I don't have books organized by the Dewey Decimal System, mmmkay?

Every week or ten days, I swap out books from the bookshelf with books on the Ikea cart and then return it to its place in the living room where  we can grab a handful of books to read if little brother is napping or we're winding down before bed or any time in between. Books with tearable pages are on the top shelf for big sis, books that can be slobbered on and manhandled are on the bottom shelf for little brother.


My current favorites are the BabyLit series.  (English major alert.) We've got board books from Pride and Prejudice to Anne of Green Gables. You cannot start them too young, people! This week it's Huck Finn, next week we are reading in iambic pentameter in preparation for Shakespeare!

Ok, maybe a bit much for a two-year-old. I'll give her another . . . week. 

Georgia's current favorites (this week anyway) include:
  • the Llama Llama books (thanks to the kickstart from Megan and to Ludacris for getting that book stuck in my head for the rest of eternity and to my husband who now tries to rap the song every time he reads the book)
  • The Mitten
  • The Gingerbread Baby (clearly we still have a few winter books out)
  • Go, Dog, Go!
  • The Itsy Bitsy Duckling, The Itsy Bitsy Bunny . . . I think you can see where this is headed . . . 
  • and a random Search and Find book where big sis points out trash cans, seesaws, globes, donuts, potties, and bananas.

I'm a firm believer in reading out loud to kids, no matter what age they are, every single day. When my farmer doesn't come home for lunch, I read Little House on the Prairie (currently) to the kids while they're eating. When brother lays down for a nap, sis and I take at least ten minutes to read books on the couch, just the two of us. Before bed, Chris reads a book to both kids while they sit on his lap . . . and while big sis tries with great disappointment to get her little brother to hold her hand.

Reading outloud is also good for calming temper tantrums. (NOT THAT MY TWO-YEAR-OLD EVER HAS THOSE NO SIR.) If I sit down in the middle of the floor with a book and start reading quietly in the midst of a wail, she will almost always stop mid-cry to come sit by me and listen along.

It's also helpful in expanding vocabularies -- for little people and big people alike. Sister recently learned what a panther is from one of our books, and her new favorite game is to growl at her dad while he either hops in the air like he's terrified or growls back. 

And it's also worth noting that our pediatrician even promotes reading. She gives each of the kids an age-appropriate book each time they go to the doctor AND gives me information each time on why it's so important to read to them. It's a really lovely and kind encouragement to a mom!

 

If you don't currently do much reading to your kiddos at home, you can check out the Read Aloud Revival website. She offers book lists for each age group, month, etc. that you can print off and take to the library. It's a helpful resource that keeps you from having to read through each book before you check it out to make sure it isn't quirky or . . . just plain weird. You know which books I mean.

Whether your bookshelf is overflowing and the librarian knows you by name or she's never met you at all and your one book has never been cracked, it's always a good time to incorporate more reading into your day. The laundry can wait. It'll still be there tomorrow. Trust me. Mine never goes away.

So, let's hear what your current favorites are this week -- whether you're two or 60. Tell me, tell!

PS Also, if you too now have Ludacris and Mama Llama stuck in your head, I'm sorry. (Heyyyyy!) 









11 comments:

  1. Yes! We love books here too!
    Currently, we are reading together: The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis. Dwight is reading The Princess and the Goblin, but just finished Lord of the Flies. Cosette is on Lord of the Rings 2. :) Sorry, my kids all love fantasy. AJ is reading Eragon. Gregg is reading Moby Dick and I’m reading Anne of the Island. Before bed, Gregg and I are reading Isaiah. :)
    Happy reading!

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    1. Anne of the Island -- that never gets old!

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  2. The almost one-year-old loves lift the flap books like Dear Zoo and Peepo Baby. The 3.5-year-old loves Naughty Kitty and Frog on a Log best, and the Frog and Toad books. The 6-year-old reads anything she can get her hands on, but returns to Narnia regularly. Happy reading!!

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    1. Oh, I had forgotten about Frog and Toad. Thank you for the reminder!

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  3. Our favorite children's book ever is "The Seven Silly Eaters" by Mary Ann Hoberman. A new favorite from the library just this week is "Little Excavator" by Anna Dewdney. I also received "The Read Aloud Treasury" as a baby shower gift almost 12 years ago and it has been invaluable as my children grow!

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    1. I haven't heard of any of these. Thank you for the recommendation!

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  4. I remember my Mom falling asleep while reading to me as well! She would nod off, and then start saying funny things! I guess she was dreaming! :) Now that I'm a farm wife also, I understand how it happened, being so tired after working outside most of the day! I grew up in a home without a tv, and became an avid reader as a result. I'm glad to say that our daughter is too!

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    1. That's so awesome! Are we the same person!?

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  5. We love to read at our house too. Our kids favorites right now are "Don't Touch the Button" and the Ninja versions of Three Little Pigs, Red Riding Hood and Hensel and Gretel. :) I love your book cart. We have a cube shelf and one metal bin we put ours in now but I'm always looking for ways for the kids to easily access the books.

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  7. My daughter is light years ahead of the other students in her class when it comes to reading, and I'd like to think it was all the reading I did to her as a toddler that helped make it that way :)

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