Imagine this, it is time to bring your child to soccer or football practice. You pack all of your clothes, equipment, and get everyone settled into the car. You begin driving and forget to bring your passport. So, you go back home, grab your passport and cross the border to get your child to practice on time.
This may sound far fetched to many of you, but it is reality for the children in Saskatchewan, Canada. Last week I got to hang out in Ms. Elder’s class and she was explaining that many of her students have sports practices in Montana. I was extremely interested in this, especially since I already knew she lived in Canada and that the class I was specifically talking with was in Canada. To them it did not sound like a big deal, but to many of us who have never experienced that it is fascinating.
This is one of the reasons that I love volunteering in classrooms all over the world and reading to them. I love learning and I love learning about different people and the way that they do things.
Ms. Elder and I met last year via Twitter and I was able to read to her class then. She does a looping grade 1 and grade 2 split. So some of the students had recognized me from last year. It was really cool to pop into their classroom and have many of them recognize me. One little boy said, “I know you”. It was really sweet.
Ms. Elder asked me to share my favorite story with the class. For me, my absolute favorite story is Thank You, Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco. However, I do not have an ebook version yet to share with the children, so I decided to go with my second favorite Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. Ironically, the class had just taken down their Chicka Chicka Boom Boom tree and they were absolutely thrilled that I chose that book out of all of the books in the world to read to them.
I have read this book to several children all over the world and it seems to be a hands down favorite. What are some of your favorite books to read with children? I would love to know.
Watch this clip from a past reading of the book to a group of students in North Carolina.
Cover via Amazon
Teaching a child to read and to love reading is perhaps the most important learning related thing you can do for your child. Reading is necessary for nearly anything your child might want to do with his or her life, and a strong reader can use reading to learn about anything they might wish to learn about. Give reading the priority is deserves in your home and you will raise a competent reader who loves to read.
Make your home reader friendly. Be sure to take the time to read things that you enjoy and let your children know about it. Leading by example is much more effective than lecturing your child on the importance of reading. Make a wide variety of books available to your child right from the start. Simply having books in your home for babies and young children to look at is an excellent start. If finances are an issue for you, a visit to your local library is in order. You will be able to check out lots of great books for children and adults for free. Even if you have books at home already you have purchased, consider using the library to add more variety to your collection of books.
Read to your children everyday from birth. As your child grows older you can read together as he or she learns to read, and eventually have them read to you. But when you have babies and very young children, the best thing you can do for them is read to them and make it a fun experience. Your local library can also help with this. Many libraries hold regular story times for children of all ages. Attending story time is another chance to expose your child to more reading, and good children’s librarians will read books in a very animated and engaging way.
The books you or your child choose are important. Share favorite books you loved reading as a child and your excitement will be evident to your child. Just as important as reading to your child is impressing upon them the joys of reading. Allow your child to visit bookstores and the library and choose books about the things that they love. What you read about isn’t as important as simply reading, and choosing books that you and your child enjoy will make reading something your child looks forward to doing.
Partner with your child’s teacher and choose books that relate to what your child is learning in school. You will be helping your child do well in school by reinforcing the concepts they are working on, while simultaneously practicing reading skills.
Be sure to allow your baby or child to participate in reading the story. When your baby or toddler points to pictures in the story be sure to encourage them by talking about what they see and asking questions. Ask young emerging readers to participate in reading familiar stories, perhaps asking them to fill in when they have read the story many times before. You will know your young child is beginning to understand what books are all about when they begin to follow along with the story and can take you through their favorite books and tell you about the story.
Raising a reader is not complicated. All it takes it a commitment to make reading a part of every day life, and making sure books are always available to your child. Once you get into a routine of reading often, it will become second nature to you, and you will be on the road to raising a great reader.
Submitted by Sarah Morris of Primrose Schools- child care with high early education standards.