When my 3rd child was little he kept bringing story books to me to read to him. We both got a lot out of this. I was able to sit down and have a rest and cuddle my gorgeous son. He was able to get something he wanted – a story and a big long hug. I did get a bit tired of re-reading books so I made a rule that I would only read a particular book once a day and we also visited the library regularly for some more books. There are so many incredibly attractive and fascinating books out there for our children and ourselves. Children now have the added ability to lift flaps in books, play with some in the bath, feel different textures and more. Stories can be funny, interesting, motivating, rhythmical, artistic, informative and scarey.
During story time, our children are listening to much valuable vocabulary, intonation, changes in volume, grammar and sentence structure. When we ask them what is going to happen next they practise expressing themselves and using the language they have acquired. We can ask them a question about the story so far to check that they are comprehending the text. They are motivated to listen carefully and to make a comment. They gradually learn to match the written word with the spoken word and to pronounce words correctly. A lot of interesting information about the world can be learned from books and stories. There are many books published in different languages which provide a great opportunity for our children to be introduced to other dialects and cultures.
Children and parents can gain much pleasure and satisfaction sharing books. It is an easy way for parents/carers to give attention and affection to their children; to soothe them and help them to feel loved and special. Children can feel a sense of empowerment by turning pages, lifting flaps and choosing books. They can receive one on one time or learn to share with a sibling or friend. Feelings, thoughts, observations, experiences and opinions can all be brought to the surface during reading sessions. We will be able to gradually learn what our children’s interests and talents are.
By reading to our children, we are fostering curiosity, imagination and creativity and increasing the chance of academic success and positive life experiences. Our children will love to find different things in the illustrations which improves their figure ground perception. Their brains will be stimulated with book reading; their focus and attention span will develop and they will be motivated to learn to read on their own. They will also be inspired to follow their particular interests.
Added benefits of reading to our loved ones are that we can teach them appropriate and safe behaviour in an interesting way and give them a taste of different cultures and forms of art. They can appreciate photographs, drawings, cartoons, abstract and realistic paintings, and many other types of art.
Reading is extremely valuable and satisfying for our children and ourselves and can be incorporated as part of our daily routine. Children particularly benefit by having a story or 2 at bedtime and will willingly do all the necessary tasks in order to hear stories before their parents/carers leave them to drift off to sleep.
It is worth noting that our children will be far more likely to read books on their own in later years if they can see their parents/carers gaining enjoyment from the written word.