reading to my kids

One of our very favorite story books is this, Patsy Scarry’s Big Bedtime Storybook. It’s out of print, but the good news is that you can buy it for about a dollar! My dad would read these charming little stories to us at bedtime, and now the boys ask for them all the time. The illustrations are charming, the characters endearing, and the individual stories only a few short minutes long — but each very captivating. I can’t recommend it highly enough!

I really enjoy reading to my kids. Books increase their vocabulary, their listening and comprehension ability, and their attention spans — not to mention their imaginations and their world! It’s so much fun to see the little wheels turning, or watch them burst out laughing at some silly antic.

Having them enjoy being read to has been very important to me, and I’ve done a few things to make reading a highlight of our day:

— When we sit to read a book, only Mama touches the pages. I have an eager beaver who’s always antsy about what’s next, but this rule has helped focus and saved us from torn pages.

— For the most part, we don’t ask questions during stories. Obviously I make exceptions, but questions seem to often derail storytime. Silliness is always there lurking beneath the surface!

— I read books that I think are fun, beautiful, educational, or otherwise endearing. How can I expect them to like reading if I make them sit still only to hear some drivel with awful illustrations? I can’t! Also, I can emote excitement about what we’re reading when I’m actually excited. That matters! I’ve kept a running book list of titles to either purchase or get from the library, and that is very helpful.

— Books are special. They get a book for Easter, books as gifts at birthdays and Christmas, and new books through the year are a big deal. I try to rotate a basket of seasonal or holiday-themed books so that even old titles get a fresh appeal regularly.

— We read chapter books at naptime, and I’m constantly surprised by how much even William learns from just listening quietly, with very little explanation. It’s a great way to unwind, as well as expand their little worlds in a way story books don’t. We’re well on our way through the Little House books, and Jameson just said this morning, “Oh, I thought for a minute we were eating lunch, but it’s breakfast! I wish it was lunch so we could hurry up and read The Long Winter!” And William is in love with Almanzo and his moccasins. Whatever floats your boat, kid!

None of those things are revolutionary, I know, but I thought I’d pass along the basic things that have helped thus far!

5 Comments reading to my kids

  1. sarah o.

    I’ve never seen that book before, but I’m interested in it now.

    We also try to read chapter books at naptime, and if possible before bed. Plus picture books and poetry scattered throughout the day. Our kids are usually allowed to ask a question (or 2) before I turn each page. That gives them a chance to ask their questions and allows me to finish sentences without interruption. I really hate being interrupted mid-sentence!

    My newest favorite book is “Talking Like the Rain” a book of poems selected by K Kennedy & D Kennedy and illustrated by Jane Dyer. I love the illustrations and the selected poems!

    Also, I love that you are blogging so much! Your blog is one of my very favorites to read!

  2. krista

    Thank you so much for the Nourishing Traditions book, I keep reading sections of it out loud while the kids are trying to do school work,woops. Could you tell me where you get the Big Time story book? I too read Little House to the kids and then have them narrate back to me but I would like to have another book going for Lee in the evenings. Thank you so much Danica for being such a great friend. I always fill lifted up and refocused after talking to you or just being in your presents. You have a gift of wisdom that many of us are blessed by.

  3. diane

    I love checking this blog daily – thanks, Danica!
    BTW, where do you get these running lists of great titles?

  4. Danica

    @Sarah: Really? I’m so glad that you enjoy reading this. :-) Thanks for your book suggestion, too. I’ll add it to my list!

    @Krista: I’ll email you a link to the book.

    @Diane: Good question that I forgot to address! I’ve compiled lists from the Ambleside Online and Five In a Row curricula. Their lists are both available online, so even though I don’t formally use their materials, their top-notch reading list helps us so much!

  5. diane

    Thank you – I’ll check their lists!.
    Would you email me the link to the Big Time story book,too?
    I’ve already ordered “Talking Like the Rain” from Amazon but the story book wasn’t $1 there :)


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