I came across a pin on Pinterest the other night, titled "How to Read to a Toddler", which piqued my interest. As an English teacher myself, I sometimes think I know what I'm doing, but I'm a high school English teacher - specifically 12th grade. I don't have to teach kids to read. I really know very little on the "how" to do so.
However, reading through the article, I realized a lot of the tips are similar to what I encourage and tell my seniors to do. It's all about engaging and being active. Then I thought about the title - reading TO. It's really reading WITH kids, as you want to be engaged and you want them to be engaged.
Some of the tips:
*Introduce words such as "title" and "author".
*Be animated. Make voices and animal sounds.
*Ask him what he sees and get him started by pointing out some of the things on the page.
*Identify things: color, shapes
*Animal sounds - Ask what the says.
*Facial expressions. Ask if the characters look happy or sad.
*Explore opposites and comparisons.
*If he/she is familiar with the story, stop to let him/her fill in the words and thank him/her for their help.
*Predict what happens next.
*Ask what the characters are doing.
It takes longer to read through a story this way, so I would recommend doing it during the day as an activity and not always before bedtime. I'm guilty of just reading with my kids before bed and am working on making it a daytime activity as well.
I also struggle with wanting to read through the story start to finish. That's the adult reader in me. When the kids want to flip quickly through pages or go back and forth, I have to force myself to "go with it". Yet, at times, it's still important to enforce the "we're still on this page" or "next page" guideline, as they also need to learn how reading works at the same time!
This also goes for viewing things with your kids. I found myself doing the same techniques this morning with my kids when they watched Toy Story 2 for the first time. We all weren't feeling well today, so I took the time to sit on the couch with them and really WATCH the movie with them. My kids are 3 and 2, so some of things I asked and said are different than what I would engage a 10-year-old or teenager with. Do things such as read titles to them, ask what's happening and why. This drives my husband crazy when I do it to him though!
There's a lot of debate about kids and screentime out there, but if you take it as an activity like reading with them, it can be a great learning tool.
Check out www.readbookstokids.com for some great books to read WITH your kids. Keep in mind ANY book can be a good read-aloud book!
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