READING aloud to your child can be one of your best parenting experiences. The best way to get children excited about reading is to read with them. I hope that you and your child create many loving memories as you explore children's books together. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Make Reading a Daily Experience. When a child is very young, it is the sound of your voice, not the words that they love. Reading with a child (even before they are born) helps you and your child bond, discover new things, and create precious memories together It is also a wonderful routine to help your child prepare for bedtime. Like all habits, this one may take a while to get established, but hang in there until it is a daily (or nightly) routine.
Create a Family Reading Night. You have a Family Game Night, why not Family Book Night? There are lots of ways to make reading together a lot of fun. Gather around. Turn off the lights, turn on a cozy lamp. Flop on the pillows, and get comfortable. When you are reading, be versatile in your approach. You read to your children or they read to you in turns, or you read to them and they read along with their own copies, or you read a page and they read a page.
Build Reading into an Activity Your Kid Loves. When you are watching TV, turn on the subtitles. It is an easy, non-threatening way to match something they want (TV) with something you want (reading). They will get used to the subtitles very quickly and it is a big help.
Plan a Family Adventure to the Library. Kids love adventures, so get them involved. Make plans together to prepare for and then celebrate the first trip to the library. Plan a book party when you get home? Be sure to prepare the kids before you go. The library is a unique place, and you will need to take the time to explain how a library works, just as you explain the dos and don'ts of other places, like church and visiting family and friends.
Have a Family Storytelling Night. An enjoyable alternative to reading aloud can be the stories that you tell yourself! Your children will enjoy the tall tales you make up, or the family stories that you remember; but be sure to read books or tell a story every day!
Pick Some Award-Winning Books to Read Together. Parents can readily find award-winning material that can encourage a child's love of reading. While the Newbery and Caldecott Medals are the most widely recognized awards for children's literature, they are by no means the only awards for children's books. Anyone interested in finding the best of children's literature can find an award-winner in any given genre, for any given age.
Your children will probably want you to continue reading to them long after they are capable of doing so independently. That is because reading aloud is not just about reading. It is a warm, loving experience that I hope you will continue for as long as your child desires.