In this new year, make a resolution to yourself to read aloud to your young children and make books a daily part of your family’s life. As Dr. Seuss says in “I Can Read with My Eyes Shut,” “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
Reading with children gives them new ideas, new hopes, and new dreams. Most importantly, reading aloud helps your children develop a lifetime love of books and reading to give them more choices and opportunities as they grow older.
Here are a few easy ways to make books and reading the center of your family’s life and help your children be comfortably at home with books.
Read aloud together every day. Reading to your children gives them a diet rich in words. It feeds their brains! Sharing books together regularly gives your children a sense of security in the routine and time spent with you. They will come to associate books with your love and attention, which will only strengthen their own love of books.
Have books at hand, many places in your life. When children can reach books, they will pick them up, open them up, and enjoy them. Take your children’s books off of the top shelves in your bookcase and put them down on the floor in baskets, in little spaces between furniture, or on lower shelving. Take them in the car, in the stroller, on the bus. Get books at the library, at yard sales, trade with friends, or buy books at your local book store. Don’t worry if a book gets a tear or smudge; they can be repaired and cleaned. Books are better well loved than not read at all.
Show your children that you value books and reading. Read books, newspapers, and magazines yourself. Read signs, cereal boxes, and cookbooks to your children. Read special books on holidays or events. And talk about what you have read. You’ll be showing your children how words are used in every day life.
Learn more about read-aloud by checking out the tips, techniques, and children’s book suggestions in some of these books: “The Read-Aloud Handbook,” by Jim Trelease, “Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to Our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever” by Mem Fox, “How to Get Your Kids to Love Reading” by Esmé Raji Codell, “Baby Read Aloud Basics” by Caroline Blakemore and Barbara Weston Ramirez, “Great Books for Babies and Toddlers: More Than 500 Recommended Books for Your Child’s First Three Years” by Kathleen Odean. Start early and read often. Happy New Year!