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Nurturing a love for reading

February 21, 2017
A mother reads to her child.Reading aloud to children can build knowledge, relationships, and a lifelong love for books. (CC BY-SA 2.0 photo / Flickr user Danny Mualim)

This past Valentine’s Day, the Warner School of Education sponsored its #read4luv initiative to promote the importance of reading aloud to—and with—children.

In an op-ed for Fox News, Carol Anne St. George, assistant professor of teaching and curriculum at the Warner School, notes the many reasons for reading together. In addition to evoking a sense of nostalgia, research demonstrates how reading and literacy build knowledge and vocabularies, family relationships and bonds, as well as a lifelong love for books and reading.

St. George also offers seven tips for reading aloud to children:

1. Make the read aloud an enjoyable experience. Snuggle up, relax, and have fun. Take time with a page, and point out pictures and other print features. Children may want to take an active part by turning the pages when you read or being responsible for reading/saying aloud certain words within the story.

2. Select a wide variety of books, genres, and illustration styles.

3. Read with expression. Use funny voices for the different characters and sounds in the text.

4. Fluctuating your pace, reading faster or slower, can help if your child becomes distracted. Your child may want to draw while you read or act out portions of the story. As your child gets older, increase the length of time reading together and the complexity of the story.

5. Children may want to hear the same story over and over and that’s fine. Though it might challenge the patience of the adult, children still reap benefits from repeat readings of the same book.

6. Conversations about the story may be helpful to maintain interest. Ask your child to make predictions about what is going to happen next. Make connections between the story and your child’s life. Ask if a character in the story reminds them of someone they know or would like to know. Ask who their favorite character was or how the story could end differently.

7. With family story time, older children can participate by taking a turn reading. Listening to a story together grounds families and offers a shared experience to relate back to. It is a misconception that children outgrow the benefits of reading aloud. Indeed, all ages can benefit from being read to.

Read the op-ed online and mark your calendar for next year’s The Love for Reading Day on February 14.


Category: Voices & Opinion

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