Tekkru Media Blog

First Nations Youth Perspective

Reading To Children

December 8th reading to children
Originally uploaded by carmelita.abraham


What is so good about reading to children? Everything!

Reading to your child is the single most valuable thing you can do. Why? 
Reading allows one to  experience different types of language, rhythms and sounds.
research shows that pre-school children who are exposed to plenty of language (books and conversation) tend to do better at school .

Also, the reader gets to learn about topics which wouldn’t maybe come up in their regular conversation.  Learning together is a wonderful way to bond with your child, not to mention it is very calming!

WARNING: READING must be FUN, not always WORK!
Reading, and education in general, are serious matters, but they are only meant to be serious for teachers and parents. If something isn’t fun, children won’t want to do it. Children have  BRILLIANT ways of avoiding what they don’t want to do: such as pretending they can’t or making you feel guilty.

If your child doesn’t enjoy it, he won’t try. If he finds it hard, he will think he is not good at it. Your job is to make it FUN and EASY.

Do babies benefit from reading?

Yes, babies benefit hugely. The effort of focusing on pictures develops eye muscles.   Each time a baby hears a particular word, it imprints more strongly in the brain.  Think: how do our brains learn? They learn by doing. Each time your baby sees, hears, or feels anything, brain connections form. Eventually, the connections are strong enough to create a skill or a piece of knowledge.
I’m Not Good at Reading Aloud

You really don’t have to be good at it. Read very slowly – that’s better for your child anyway as he’ll be able to hear the words more clearly.

If you feel your reading still isn’t good enough, we have two suggestions:
practise reading a story on your own before reading it to your child
this is a good time to ask for help. There are organisations which help adults with their reading. Ask your GP, Citizen’s Advice Bureau or Local Education Authority. It will be worth it to be able to help your child.
How to Read

First, be comfortable, cosy and relaxed – both of you. On the other hand, hearing a story can be very calming for a child who is in ‘one of those moods’.

Next, make sure your child can see the book the right way up as you read.

For babies and toddlers up to 2 years
point at pictures and say or ask names of things (depending on age)
use a slow sing-song voice
use different voices for different characters – be entertaining
spend time talking about the pictures before turning the page
say a name and ask your older baby or toddler to point to the item
give huge praise each time your child points at and names an object

For 2-4 year-olds
give your child time to look at the pictures before you read
ask, ‘Where’s the…?’ ‘What’s that called?’ ‘What’s she doing?’
always follow text with your finger as you read
with familiar stories, see if your child can join in or finish phrases
ask questions like: ‘Why did he do that?’ ‘What happens next?’
discuss things you both liked/didn’t like and why

For 4 year-olds and over (and possibly some 3 year-olds)
as for 2-4 year olds
ask your child if he can remember the order of events in the story
try paired reading (sometimes called shared reading)

Special Activity
If you think your child may be ready for a real reading activity, try this: choose a word which appears several times (such as a name) show it to your child and tell him what it says: can your child find the same word again?

This is a first ‘Look and Say’ or ‘Whole word’ activity. For information about Look and Say and the other methods of teaching reading, click here.

Let your child see that reading is part of your life. Do you have books and newspapers in the house?

Choosing Books – For Babies, Toddlers and Nursery Children
For babies
Very young babies cannot focus well. You need books with large, simple pictures. Bold red, green, blue and black are usually best.

When you read to a baby you might be doing one of two things. You could be pointing at the pictures and saying the names, which helps your baby focus on specific sounds. However, this can become just a little monotonous especially when your baby is more interested in eating the book.

Or you could just read, so that the baby can enjoy the sound of your voice and hear the rhythms of different types of language, even though he won’t have a clue what you are talking about.

Ideally, then, you need three sorts of books for a baby:
bright, bold picture books to help focusing and identification
books with poems, songs, or stories of any sort which YOU like reading
books that you can safely leave in the cot, so that your baby develops a ‘taste’ for books. (Check safety labels carefully.)

For toddlers and older pre-school children

For children who understand most of what they hear, you need different books. Let your child choose, though some ‘guidance’ is often necessary.

You need these sorts of books:
a variety of different types of language to read to your child (including poetry, traditional stories and mystery as well as everyday stories)
a range of easier books with very few words, so that your child can begin to ‘read’ independently, by remembering a story which he has heard often
books which your child really likes for whatever reason

Don’t forget: the written word is all around us. We don’t only read books – we read shop names, road signs, shopping lists, advertisements, birthday cards…. All are a chance to show your child how reading works. There is even a bit of jargon to describe this writing: ENVIRONMENTAL PRINT.

© 2000 Nicola Morgan. Email:nmorgan@childliteracy.com

This picture was taken on December 8th/2008

I am happy to share this information, reading and learning are important for all of us to think about all the time.

Please consider the information and apply it to your life. I am the Aunty of the boy in this picture and his name is Dominic Abraham. The Man reading to Dominic is my uncle Richard Abraham. Richard is the Band counsel for the Takla Lake First Nations and also a Drug and Alcohol councilor, and has been for many years. Richard has been sober for 22 years and counting. I am supporting his efforts and continued success in every thing he does. Way to go keep it up!

Yours truly,

Carmelita Abraham


December 11, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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