Read to your children!

“My mother read me bedtime stories until I was six years old. It was a sneak attack on her part. As soon as I really got to like the stories, she said, “Here’s the book, now you read.”  –Octavia Butler

Maybe the best advice to give parents in terms of their children’s mental and language development is that we read to our children!   Many writers and scholars will tell us that their mothers read stories to them until they were able to read the stories on their own.  I know it sounds too simple, but I have no doubt that this reading to our children will pay enormous dividends in the future.

So, some questions to aid you in deciding how you – or someone you love – will do this!  1) When should I start? As early as possible – six months is not too early!  2) Where do I get good books? Some you’ll want to own so that they can be read over and over again – children will develop favorites and you’ll be able to ‘read’ them from memory, and if you decide to ‘skip a page or two’ your child will bring you up short!  (One writer recommended that you request books for shower gifts which will become family treasures!) 3) How often should I read? Every day – even if it’s just for a few minutes!  4) Where do I do this? Whereever you can sit with the child so that he/she can clearly see the book as you read!  5) Is the child just a passive part of this interaction? Nope!  Ask the child questions which stem from the story!  Do NOT turn it into a drill!!!!  The child should see this as a pleasurable  –  a play activity!  6) How long should these sessions be? Probably less than twelve minutes for most little ones.  As they mature, they’ll ask for more time – decide on the time together with the child – “Maybe another three minutes??” and then listen to the child’s desire!

I cannot emphasize strongly enough the value of this activity!! Read to your children!!


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