Why Reading to Our Children Is so Beneficial
Reading and children
Our first words and our children.
It's so easy to get caught up in the bedlum and business of the day and be unable to find the time to read to your young children isn't it?
Having had two children myself who are now both grown up and fled the nest, sitting here reflecting on the passed to try to get motivated into writing something those all important first words came to my mind.
Don't ask me why, I don't know but as that is what came to my mind I thought I would write a little on the subject.
When my children were youngsters I used to love to read to them, they would get so engrossed in the pictures and the story that I was telling them at the time. My belief is that it is a very important stage of a child's life when the parent or parent's make the time to sit down and read to their children.
Eventually it becomes time to start to use the finger by pointing at a word as you are saying it to try to encourage the child to look at the word in the book.
I used to say "now you say it" and my children would mimic what I had said.
What a lovely time reading time is for children and the reader whether parent, grandparent, brother, sister or babysitter our children love this time.
As I recall those first words or perhaps I should say letters at this stage
I recall singing the letters (as they sounded) and pointing my finger at the book and at each individual word as we went along, and before continuing onto the next page.
A B C D E F G
From there I went on to show them colours in a book and asked them to repeat the colour until one day they started to say the colour as I pointed my finger. What a wonderful thing learning to read is, and how very clever.
The ABC song for you to sing with your children
Now onto the words
I remember using the face and naming everything on the face as being the first words.
For example, I would point to my nose and say the word nose and then touch my children's nose and say the word nose until they would touch my nose and say the word nose and so on and so forth.
This would go on for all parts of the face, then for the body I would sing once again
Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes, Knees and Toes touching each area with my hands on my own body and my children would copy what I was doing but on their own bodies, fascinating but it worked.
Noddy was also a very big inspiration in my children's lives as the colours that were portrayed in his books would lighten up my children's faces and keep their concentration for a very long time, I would suggest for any parents of young children giving his books ago.
I also remember having a plastic book which you could take into the bath and your children could look at the pictures and as you say the word relating to the picture your child would repeat the word, there is something calming about bath time and this was a time when my children seemed to be interested in looking at the book.
This video will give you an insight on how to teach your child to read
Bedtime is a good time to start teaching your children about words
I found that the best time to read any books to my children and to get them to focus was at bedtime.
I would bath them give them their warm milk and then take them up to bed. I would pick a Noddy book and start to read to them. I could tell that they were listening as their eyes were big and bold (before they became sleepy!).
I also found that if I pointed to the words with my finger as I was reading as the children grew older they actually started to focus on the word that I was pointing at at the time.
Eventually, I would hold their finger in my hand and point at the word with them and their finger and I do believe that this encouraged them to start to read and understand the words.
Using writing with reading
Another way to encourage them to start to read was to focus on a to z by writing the letters and repeating them to the children as I pointed to them and wrote them yet again.
My children loved crayons and colored pencils and we would start with just scribbling on paper until eventually even prior to going to nursery they were able to get the actual shape of a letter this in turn when reading I found they could point at a word and also see the letter that they had played around with when drawing.
Wonderful thing the brain, and children as early as you can possibly start them on reading and writing pick things up a lot quicker than leaving it until they actually start to go to school.
This video gives you an idea of how to teach your children to write
Looking at A-Z magnetic letters
Another way of getting children to relate to letters is to invest in some magnetic colored letters like the ones in the picture. I attached these letters to the fridge. And whilst my children were in the highchair I would move the letters around, firstly stating what the letter was and then slowly building up words.
The first words were the obvious words like mum, dad, cat and dog and any other three letter words that I thought of at the time and progressively we built up more words until eventually my children were actually going to the fridge and putting the words together themselves.
It is a great achievement when you see your children thinking for themselves and you realise that all of the time spent teaching them the alphabet and reading to them is worthwile and very rewarding.
A-Z Puzzles also help you teach your children the alphabet
You can actually buy puzzles that outline the alphabet too in Noddy format. The wooden large individual letter puzzles are the best to get your child interested in the alphabet.
Using these also can help with your child's co-ordination as at first they may look quite clumsy with their little fingers trying to join the pieces together but practice makes perfect and if you persevere you will find that before long the child is completing the puzzles on their own without any assistance from you.
I set by time on a daily basis for this activity breaking each individual activity up during the day so as not to bore the child. Keeping children's minds on the matter in hand can be quite hard work but as I said earlier persevere and you will not fail.
Plastic floatable A-Z letters in the bath
Bath time is always special for children and it is possible to buy different things for the children to play with at bath time.
I had a set of plastic floatable letters that would go into the bath at the same time as the children and whilst I would sit at the edge of the bath I would make words up such as duck, fish, crab or any such words that went with being in water.
This became quite a fun time because I would ask my children what word they could think of to make up with the soft plastic words.
At the end of each session I would ask them what book will we read tonight at bedtime I wonder and they would always make up the word Noddy with the plastic letters!
Now that is an achievement I think from starting to read with Noddy and then them being able to make up the word noddy by using the letters.
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© 2012 Trudy Cooper