Monday, November 7, 2016

I Didn't Stop Reading to My Kids After They Learned to Read

When my children were little, I read to them all the time: in the car, on the couch, after breakfast, before bedtime. I read short stories and nursery rhymes, bilingual books and poetry. (I imagine many MommyMaestra parents can relate to this!) And then my children learned to read.

I began having them read to me instead, and the amount of time I spent reading to my kids slowed down. But I stubbornly held on to those read-aloud moments. Because even though they were able to read on their own, I knew that listening to stories was a crucial part of their literacy development. It refines their listening skills and helps to build reading comprehension. When they struggle to understand what they are reading, storytelling can actually improve their ability to remember what the story is about, and help them internalize the meaning. Listening to stories helps children learn the rhythm of a well-written story. By listening, they learn about inflection and intonation. It trains their ear, and encourages them to look ahead as they read so that they, too, can read aloud in a similar manner.

Plus, I treasured those times. And I still do. My children are now 10 and 12 years old. But sharing great storytelling with my children is a special part of our lives. Most of the time our read alouds happen during our school time, but occasionally, when we have a great book, I'll grab it, plop down on the couch, and they'll sit and listen.

That's why I've joined Moms Rising's MomsReading initiative. I believe that reading with and to your children is important. And I want to encourage you, as a parent, to read aloud to your child... even when they are old enough to read on their own.

A few years ago I shared 5 bilingual books that make perfect read alouds. I still stand behind these books.

But there are many wonderful titles to share as a family. I look for:

  • meaty books with storylines that I know will capture my child's attention
  • books that help me raise world citizens
  • a variety of stories: classics, bilingual books, folktales, mysteries, fiction, nonfiction
  • a great story

We've been reading Don Quixote. We have laughed our way through one ridiculous adventure after another. And our trip to Spain has only made my kids even more eager to finish this huge book. Next on our list is Spanish-American folktales.

I'm excited about this book, which I bought when I was in my 20s and have never read. I bought it to read to my future children, then forgot I had it until I discovered it the other day in an old chest.

I'm looking forward to our next storytelling journey. They are moments that my children will remember long after they've grown.

I encourage you to make reading aloud a routine in your home, if you don't already. You'll be glad you did.

Disclosure: I am participating in this MomsRising campaign, however, I am not compensated for doing so. All thoughts and opinions are my own.


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