When many obligations compete for the precious time families spend together outside of work and school, it’s easy for parents to relegate reading to a kids-only activity once kids can read on their own. But Scholastic’s recently released Kids and Family Reading Report for 2014 shows that many children clearly want reading aloud to continue, even after it stops. The question on the survey read, “When your parent or family member stopped reading to you, were you ready for it to stop, did you want it to continue, or did you not care either way?” In response, 48 percent of 6 to 8 year olds and 34 percent of 9 to 11 year olds said they wanted it to continue.
When children were asked why they liked being read to, four responses emerged as the most important:
- It was special time to be with a parent
- It was fun
- Being read to before bedtime was relaxing
- They got to listen to books that may have been too hard to read on their own
If you decide to dedicate more time to reading aloud in your household, hear are a few tips you may want to consider to make it more enjoyable for both parents and kids.
- Find a quiet time when you can both put everything else aside. Times of transition, like just before bedtime or when she gets home from school, are often good times to read.
- Get comfortable. Snuggle up together in bed or on the couch, and make sure everyone can see the pages. A lot of the action in picture books takes place in the illustrations. And once children learn to read, they often like to follow along with you.
- Choose books you love. If you’re bored, it will come through in your voice and your body language, and you’re less likely to hold your child’s interest.
- Read with expression, and don’t be afraid to be silly. Adopt a funny voice or an accent to match the character. Slow down when something scary is about to happen, and speed up when the pace picks up.
- Feel free to stop and talk about what you just read or ask questions like, “Why do you think Charlotte (from Charlotte’s Web) wanted to help Wilbur?” The answers you get may surprise you and lead to a conversation that gives you insight about your child.
- If something is funny, laugh. It’s an easy way to show your child that you’re engaged in the book, and reading to him is fun for you, too.