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Sharing Stories: The Magic of Reading Aloud

“The more rich and multifaceted the learning experiences, the more neurons are fired. What fires together, wires together.”

—Dr. Betty Rintoul (NC Infant Mental Health Association, Baby Steps, Fall Newsletter, 2013.)

This is a great quote that I have used during presentations when talking about the number of benefits of reading to children. First, there is a strong correlation between reading and school success. Beyond that, loving books and reading are the attributes of life-long learning.

Recently, I read the following in my local newspaper.

“The first 2,000 days of a child’s life are integral to reading literacy. And there’s need for improvement.

That’s the message shared by local children’s advocacy and community groups during a meeting at the Main Branch Library on Monday. Coordinated by the Gaston County Early Literacy Collaborative and The Gazette, the meeting kicked off a call to action for the Gaston community to begin crafting an inspired vision about how to improve reading skills and adequately prepare children to learn how to read before they get to kindergarten.

“It may seem crazy to think we’ve got to start with preschoolers, but we do,” said Laurel Morris, director of the county’s library system and the Early Literacy Collaborative. “We start with preschoolers so they’re ready, and that way by third grade they’re on (grade) level and they can keep going.”

You can read the entire article here.

Today’s Technology

With today’s competition from games, cellphones, videos, etc., it has become harder to get children to pick up a book. But, parents and teachers that read books aloud to young children are encouraging them to get hooked on the enjoyment of reading. These are the children that want to visit the library for a new selection of books.

Put away the electronics—I suggest time during the day when all electronics are put away, including Mom and Dad, and the whole family read together.

What Do the Experts Say?

The National Association for the Education of Young Children and the International Reading Association says, “failing to give children literacy experiences until they are school-age can severely limit the reading and writing levels they ultimately attain.”

Some ideas for sharing storybooks:

  • Set a special time for reading.
  • Read aloud.
  • Be familiar with the book.
  • Choose books that interest you and your child.
  • Read a variety of books.
  • Hold the book so that the child can see the pictures.
  • Point to the words as you read.
  • Use expressions when reading. Make dialogue interesting.
  • Do not change the vocabulary.

Favorite Books for Reading

The following are some of my favorite books to share with children.

Infants

  1. Engvack, William. Lullabies and Night Songs
  2. Glazer, Tom. Music for Ones and Twos
  3. Hall, Susan T. So Sleepy
  4. Hill, Eric. Up There
  5. Kunhardt, Dorthy. Pat the Bunny
  6. Oxenbury, Helen. Playing
  7. Tudor, Tasha. Mother Goose
  8. Wessells, Katherine Tyler. The Golden Song Book

Toddlers and Twos

  1. Alexander, Martha. Pigs Say Oink
  2. Brown, Margaret Wise. Red Light, Green Light
  3. Braun, Dick. The Fish
  4. Carle, Eric. The Very Hungry Caterpillar
  5. Crew, Donald. Truck
  6. Dodds, Siobhan. Words and Pictures
  7. Hoban, Tana. A Children’s Zoo
  8. Polushkin, Maria. Who Said Meow?

Preschool Children

  1. Ackerman, Karen. Song and Dance Man
  2. Bourgeois, Paulette. Hurry Up, Franklin
  3. Freeman, Don. Corduroy
  4. Ga’g, Wanda. Millions of Cats
  5. Numeroff, Laura Joffe. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie
  6. Piper, Watt. The Little Engine That Could
  7. Sendak, Maurice. Where the Wild Things Are
  8. Wood, Audrey. The Napping House
  9. Wyont, Wanda. Sunbeam
  10. Zion, Gene. Harry the Dirty Dog

song and dance man

Kindergarten

  1. Allard, Harry. Miss Nelson Is Missing
  2. Allsburg, Chris Van. The Polar Express
  3. Bate, Lucy. Little Rabbit’s Loose Tooth
  4. Ernst, Lisa Campbell, When Bluebell Sang
  5. Hoffman, Mary. Amazing Grace
  6. Goble, Paul. The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses
  7. Viorst, Judith. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day
  8. Williams, Margery, The Velveteen Rabbit
  9. Wyont, Wanda. Barkley’s Great Escape
  10. Yolen, Jane. Owl Moon

Of course, I just had to include my own book! You can check out the following link where I’ve outlined some teaching strategies and discussion points around the story, Barkley’s Great Escape. Let me know what you think in the comments.

Benefits of Reading to Children

Featured images courtesy of author, Wikipedia, Amazon, Goodreads, Kinderbooks, and Unsplash: Robyn Budlender.  

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