Friday, October 4, 2013

Read Aloud: Nurse Jen's book review

This week I am taking a break from discussing an illness  (or poop) and turning it over to Nurse Jen who wants to let you know about a book that she thinks is well worth sharing.
The opportunity to read out loud to your children is precious time that I hope you cherish.
(I offered to read to my 23 year old just this week and she rolled her eyes at me.)

Nurse Jen reminds us that kids never outgrow a good book!
Parenting books can be helpful - but where to start? The choices can be overwhelming. Following is a recent favorite of mine.

The Read Aloud Handbook, By Jim Trelease
This book has been around for 30 years but somehow I missed it! Luckily, I heard about the release of its seventh edition this summer and I am so glad I found it. The first half addresses the reasons why we should read aloud to our children - even after they are able to read on their own.  Trelease says "Reading alone and reading aloud are not mutually exclusive. We can do both - and should."  Reading aloud to children of all ages improves listening comprehension, builds the parent child emotional bond, expands attention spans, increases vocabulary, and improves grammar just by hearing the English language.

If that doesn't convince you this anecdote might - Trelease tells the story of an admissions director at one of the nation's most prestigious small colleges who states "The best SAT prep course in the world is to read to your children in bed when they're little. Eventually, if that's a wonderful experience for them, they'll start to read themselves."  But don't stop when they get bigger, keep the ritual going well after your children learn to read on their own.  
It's easy to start, try these tips:

·         Spread books throughout the house! In one study, children with the most interest in reading came from homes where books were spread throughout the house, not just one or two places.  You'll be more tempted to pick up a book and read aloud for a few minutes if they are stashed in multiple places throughout the house.

·         After you've read to your child at night, allow your older child to stay up 15 minutes longer to read on their own - just like mom and dad. Give your older child a bedside lamp and tell them you recognize they are responsible enough to stay up a little longer reading. Model this behavior for them, if they see you reading for fun they are more likely to turn to reading for pleasure. Think of it as your homework.

·         Make it a challenge, set a goal of 10 consecutive days of reading aloud together. Trelease cites an incredible example of a father and child aiming for 100 consistent nights of reading together. What they got was 3,218 in a row, only ending when the child went to college. She then went on to write a nationally published literary memoir about the stories she and her father shared.

The second half of the book is a "treasury" of read aloud books.  This book list notes the appropriate grade level and a summary for each book recommended. My kids eagerly read through it checking off the books we have already read together and more importantly circling the books they want to start reading together right away!
                                 ~Nurse Jen 

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