Friday, September 9, 2011

Reading OUTLOUD to kids -- a don't miss!

     Moment upon moment upon moment.  These make up what we call "time."  Every day, I try to do something to connect with each of my children, either individually or as a group.  These sometimes small, and sometimes big, moments make a difference.  Reading together aloud has proven to be one the most consistent and best ways to do this in my parenting.  From pre-schoolers to teenagers, everyone loves a good story.  
Last summer, I wanted a fun way to connect with my older nephews and my daughter at our family lake cabin.  I went to the bookstore and found Ted Dekker's The Lost Series.  I got the first book and we began reading.  The rule was that we all had to read together, and out-loud.  They would beg me to sit down and read more.  
     My boys and I have been in C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia all summer.  We've worked our way from The Magician's Nephew to The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, where we are currently.  Now that school has started, I read a chapter or two as they go to bed.  We all love winding the day down with this ritual.  Honestly, it is as fun for me to read them as it is for them to hear them.  I am completely captivated by these stories!  We watch the movies together after reading the story also, and the boys love filling in the gaps.
     Reading aloud to our children accomplishes several things.  Here is a list taken from Sonlight Curriculum's webite:  

  • Introduce your children to great literature that is beyond their personal reading capacity.  
  • Develop within your children a life-long love of reading.  
  • Expand your children's vocabulary
  • Build listening skills - including the ability to visualize the meaning of spoken words.
  • Develop an "ear" for good oral reading
  • Develop oral reading skills.
  • Give you and your children a context for sharing mutually significant times together.

     I like to use Sonlight's website to order books for read-alouds.  Having a stack of quality material ready makes the legwork easy.  The books they carry are often award winners, and they promote something worthwhile -- historical education, character building lessons, or just a fun story that is well crafted.  There is so much out there, and it is hard to know what is quality and what isn't.  I don't always have time to find out, so this resource is invaluable to me.  You could also write the titles down and order them through the library. 
     I'll never forget the time when my boys and I sat on the couch and cried together as Little Ann and Old Dan faced their deaths in Where the Red Fern Grows.  It was so moving that our hearts welled together with sadness and emotion.  It bonded us and created a "moment."  A moment I wouldn't trade for the world.....

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