Story time is the best time of the day. Whether we're snuggled up on the couch or cozy in our pjs before bed, reading stories with my little ones is one of my favorite things to do. Everyone has a favorite book they remember from their childhood, and every day, parents and kids are discovering new classics of their own. There are many fabulous children's books out there, some of which everyone knows about and others we would have never discovered had my son not simply pulled a random book off a library shelf. I created this blog to share some of these wonderful stories with you. Think of it as a year's worth of the best children's books around, since no day should be without a great story. In the end, I hope we'll all have discovered at least a few new titles that will have made their way onto our list of family favorites. Enjoy!

Friday, November 9, 2012

The joys of reading aloud

Story time with my children is always one of my favorite times of day.  I've written about why I read to my kids before, but I've been thinking about it a lot more lately for some reason.  I think this is in part because, as a teacher, I think a lot about the current state of education in our country and around the world and the critical role that literacy -- especially early childhood literacy -- plays in our overall success.  I also have found myself feeling very grateful for many things lately, particularly my ability to stay home with my children and (hopefully) help them become compassionate, independent, curious citizens of our world.  The Thanksgiving season obviously makes me reflect on all that I am thankful for, but the recent election has me thinking about social responsibility and the influence that each of us has on shaping our collective future.  I truly believe that one person has the power to make a difference and change the world, and I'm not talking about the President here.  I'm talking about each of us.  Sure, there is a lot we can't control, but there is plenty that we can do to make our children's future better.  One of the best, easiest, and most valuable things we can do for our kids is read with them.  Reach Out and Read has a fabulous write up on the "Importance of Reading Aloud," which I will share here.   I read with my children for all of those reasons, and then some.  The educator in me reads to my kids because I love broadening their horizons and helping them acquire the language and literacy skills that will set them up for a lifetime of learning and success.  The parent in me simply loves any excuse to snuggle up and share a quiet moment with my kids.  But I got to thinking... What do other people love most about reading to their children?  Wouldn't it be a fun way to celebrate reading aloud by sharing a list of reasons here on the blog?  I posed the question to our followers in the facebook world and will share what they said below.  I would love to know your reasons, too.  Please feel free to share in the comments!

Our educational system obviously isn't perfect, and we have a long way to go if we are going to truly educate all children and enable them to reach their full potential.  I know the vital role that teachers play in doing this, but I also know that it is us, the parents, that have the most important job of all.  No one -- and I mean no one -- has the power to influence, inspire, teach, and empower our children as much as we do.  So read on, friends, read on.  You are making a bigger difference than you know.

By the way, I'm working on creating a section of this blog that features helpful literacy articles and information with the hope that it will be a useful resource for people looking to find ways to help their children learn to read and develop literacy skills.  Stay tuned, and in the meantime, enjoy our post dedicated to the simple joys of reading aloud!

What do YOU love most about reading with your children?

"The snuggles that come along with reading to the kids."
 ~ Shauna R.

"The vocabulary building.  I try to choose books that are a little ahead of what's recommended for their age so they often have to ask, "What does that mean?"  Another thing I love is how their imagination is sparked and the next day they'll pretend to be a character from the book 
and act out scenes they remember." 
 ~ Marleen M. 

"The quiet time with them as well as sharing stories from when I was growing up." 
~ Nina M. K.

"The cuddle time... the glances in between us as I am reading, the laughter..." 
~ Amy G. H.

"That no matter how difficult our day might have been, we want to read together at the end of it, and in the rare instances when she's not into it, we just make the effort to pick a book that suits the moment better, so that we can have those few minutes to end the day just right."  
~ Kristi W. K. 

"Listening to him tell the story through his own eyes (he can't read yet). 
He points out the pictures and tells the story." 
~ Marlene C. 

"Opportunities to talk about what we're reading." 
~ Kelly R.

"The closeness engendered by a shared experience, the opportunity to explore his imagined worlds and to share mine. I love the chance to spend quiet time together...and to invite conversations... In a group situation I love taking children on a journey that is shared yet unique for each of them. I relish the chance to invite them to see into the imaginary worlds of others and to know that all ideas are welcome. I enjoy the sense of the unknown with each new page..and of the familiar with old, comfy, safe favourites that allow prediction and the power of knowledge of what is to come .
~ Sharon C. 

"My son is three, so we read a lot of picture books. I love the way his eyes light up when we pull a favorite book off the shelf at the library, the way it takes him longer to choose books at bedtime than it does to pick out his clothes, the way he can't contain himself from blurting out the ending to a perfect story like "Where the Wild Things Are" ("and it was still hot!"). Book time = perfect family time."  
~ Sprout's Bookshelf

"I love that my11 year old don still wants me to read aloud to him! 
We still cuddle up in bed and share that beautiful time together!" 
~ Sarah R. 

"Quiet together time at the end of whatever kind of crazy day you've had. 
Rich vocabulary, fun rhymes, wonderful stories. 
A time when you're focused just on your child and the story on the page. Snuggles." 
~ Heather M. W.

" I love that we can both just BE for a bit together. No other distractions. 
Just living, learning, and reading together to reconnect."  
~ Katie D. M.

"I love their reactions and how much it makes them think. If we read a book and they're relating to it the next day ("that's like what happened with Clifford!"). . . 
getting that glimpse into how they perceive the world. That's the best." 
~ Beth Z. 


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