Reading to Children: Is there a “right” way?

It is common to hear that reading to your child is a good thing – it’s helpful in terms of intellectual stimulation, and it helps your child build a vocabulary.  Of course, it’s also a special bonding moment with your child.

But what kinds of books should you read?  Is there a “special way” to read with your child?

For Toddlers, choose books that focus on colors, shapes, and the senses – books that focus on beginning phonics and sounds you can make.  Let them say words with you.  You might also want to choose a book with rhymes.

Although reading a book over and over again might be boring, children like repetition.  Take time to stop and talk as you read – such as “What do you think is going to happen next?” or “What do you think of this character?”.

Talk about the things that your children may see on the page, words that they may be hearing for the first time, or the events of the story and always read with expression (That means using funny voices :) )

Choose subjects that you might find interesting – share your interests with your children through reading.  For example, if you love to go fly fishing, try reading a story about fly fishing on a pond or scouting.  All of a sudden your story is not just a learning exercise – it has become a way to share what you care about with your child.

Some parents have a fond love of literature and drama and share this passion with their children.  If you have a favorite story – like Homer’s Odyssey – or a popular Shakespeare play, you should read these books out loud with your little ones.  These stories are full of adventure, action, and beautiful language – you’d be surprised to find out how much your children will love this.  You can help them imagine the world of Odysseus or the playful fairies in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

As a mom, I used to read Greek myths and folktales to my son.  It was a wonderful way for us to bond and it was exciting to see him imagine the great ships of Ancient Mesopotamia or create the mythical geography of Mt. Olympus.

Check out your local library for more wonderful stories and weekly storytimes.