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Making Reading Time Fun for Your Children

Educators and experts are always telling us to read to our children. They like to cite all the studies about how reading to children will increase children's vocabulary and their intelligence. It will help them overall in all their academics. All of this is very nice to know, but reading is a great thing to do with your children because it is fun. Reading time is some of that quality time they are always telling us to have with our children.The first fun thing about reading to your children is that it almost always requires physical closeness. For children young enough to need pictures in their books, they need to be sitting in your lap or close to your side to see the pictures while you are reading. Everyone needs affectionate touch and young children especially benefit from it. While you are reading a book, give the story and your child your total attention. Make an evil cackling voice for the wicked witch, or a high-pitched voice for the little squirrel. When reading words like "pop" or "crash," make the word sound like the noise. Use a frightened voice during the scary parts and a happy voice at the happy ending. Oink, bark and meow like the animals in the story. Encourage your child to make the noises, too. If it is a familiar book, pause before the animal sound and let your child say it themselves. This also works for phrases that are sometimes repeated over and over in a story. "I think I can, I think I can."The first time you read a book to your child and they do not know the ending, ask them questions. What do you think will happen next? How will it end? Make up your own ending for the story together. Then keep on reading and see what happens. As much as I love books, I do not want my children to take authors' opinions too seriously. Sometimes I will say I like our own made up ending better. Sometimes you will find books that are pictures only. These books are also great to "read." Encourage your child to describe the pictures, also. Take it slow and talk about each one. The pictures are a big part of what makes children's books fun. Take your time to look them over. Point out the little details. Some of the fun of a parent is just getting a little silly at times. You can do this with books that your children are familiar with. See if they are paying attention by mixing up the words or the plot. Change the details to sillier details. The glass slipper may become a glass banana. Change the names of the characters. Use your child's name for one of the characters. With all the fun things you can do while reading to your children, you will find yourself looking forward to it as much as they. When it comes right down to it, I am less concerned about what the experts say about how important reading is for children. I do it because I love to. 

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