At the last General Meeting of our local parents of multiples club, I attended a simply wonderful hour with Valerie Lewis of Hicklebee’s Bookstore. She was such an engaging and entertaining speaker, I was completely fascinated. And excited to buy almost every book she recommended.
This meeting was one I’d been looking forward to since it was first suggested. Our girls are in preschool and they love having books read to them. They love stories. They love illustrations. They love books. And I want to encourage this as much as possible. My problem has been that I’ve been lost in the children’s book section. There are so many choices…how do I know which ones to choose? Which ones are great stories or teach a lesson in a charming and memorable way. And this meeting gave me some answers while inspiring me to be a better reader to my children – by reading more often and letting my natural enthusiasm take hold by adding a little animation to the story.
Valerie gave some great advice and other parents offered wonderful insight with respect to reading to children that I will try to remember as our girls grow older.
- Read for pleasure – At such a young age, just try to get your kids interested in reading books.
- As children grow older, don’t always be concerned with what level they should be reading. Let them read what interests them, developing that love for books and learning.
- Love those books with rhythm and rhyme. A fun and catchy cadence to any story really catches the attention of the younger set. You’ll be amazed at how much they memorize primarily because they remember the rhythm.
- Don’t be afraid to read the “scary” books to them such as Hansel and Gretel or Where The Wild Things Are. While these stories may seem frightening and perhaps cause nightmares, what the children remember is how the children in the book got themselves out of a dark situation. They love cheering for the kids and love to see them triumph.
- Finish the story. You don’t need to stop to explain every word in a story. Go with the flow of the book and finish it. You can look up words later or the children will pick up its meaning after a while.
- Let them see you read books. Oftentimes, we parents read at night just before our own bedtimes when we know we have lots of peace, quiet and time to really focus on our stories. Kids love to imitate their parents. Let them see how much you love books, too.
- Bring some of your own personality and animation to the stories. Change up the tales to reflect your own point of view. Remember, kids don’t know the real story…only what you’ve told them. OK, so maybe they’ll learn a different version in school (if you really go out on a limb) but hey, they can always chalk it up to Daddy’s story.
- Choose books they want and choose books you want. Let your kids choose the books they’d like to read (or have read to them). If something peaks their interest, don’t stop them. At the same time, show them and read to them the books you find interesting. Take turns.
The meeting was also a fundraiser for the club. 10% of all book purchases that night and at the store a few days afterward, was donated to Gemini Crickets. Let me tell you, I did my fair share of supporting our club – and now have a wonderful collection to show for it.