I have always felt that reading aloud to my children is one of the most important activities we can do together. It’s an activity that is great for bonding, language development, and forming a lifelong excitement for reading and learning. I firmly believe that it is never too early to begin reading to your children, which is why I started reading to all of my boys when they were just a few weeks old.
Recently I have become more intentional about carving out a specific time to read aloud to all of the boys. Here is what that time looks like in our home:
Around holidays, when the seasons change, or any time that we want to focus on a new subject, I pull books and put them in a basket in our living room. These are the books I go to when we start our reading time for the day. It saves time and helps us stay on task. The boys can choose other books at any time, but I try to stick to the ones in the basket if we are learning something specific.
About 10 minutes before reading time, I announce to the boys that we are going to start soon and ask them to pick some books out of the basket if they would like to. If they don’t choose any then I just pick them out. We make sure the TV is off and that there is no music playing. I either nurse my youngest or hold him in my lap on a nursing pillow facing out so that he can see the book as I read. The two bigger boys go back and forth between playing and sitting quietly, listening to the stories. They always get sucked in at some point, which is my favorite part. I love to watch toys fall out of their hands as they become more and more engrossed in the book. Even if the boys aren’t really paying attention, I always show the pictures before turning the page, and I have found that this pause in the reading often gets them to look up and pay attention.
The act of simply reading aloud is so important, but I like to take it a step further because I use the books to reinforce or introduce specific learning points. I ask the boys lots of questions and emphasize various parts. In future posts when I write about specific books, I will give examples of the conversations we have to get the most out of each book.
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