There is so much information that comes at you as a parent as to why reading with your child is so important. Reading aloud increases vocabulary, it improves listening skills and imagination, and it sets your child on the road to greater success at school. All of this pressure to read to your child can be very overwhelming.
I realized a long time ago that in order to have fun with your children and to allow your kids to become lovers of books you have to let go of all expectations and just have fun. When my children were young, reading aloud was a struggle for me. Ironically, storytime was one of the things I looked forward to the most when I thought about having kids. Reality did not match the fantasy.
My children preferred to eat the books rather than listen when they were babies, refused to sit on my lap for more than two pages once they were mobile, and became seemingly uninterested when a book other than the Picture Dictionary of Trucks was pulled off the shelf when they were toddlers. Let me tell you reading the Picture Dictionary of Trucks over and over and over again while a toddler crawls on your head can really try one’s patience.
I became so frustrated that I wanted to quit. Trying to get my boys excited about books was too hard and no one was listening to me read anyway. So, I stopped for a while.
And then, I changed my perspective. I began looking at books from the same viewpoint as my son sees his Matchbox cars on the floor: as fun. And you know what? Books once again became enjoyable. The more fun I had with reading, the more my children paid attention. And even if they played with cars or ran around the room, it was OK.
It doesn’t matter how old your kids are or if you have read to them before or not. It’s never too late. You may be faced with excuses like “I’m playing video games,” or “I’m texting my friends” but if you can get them interested in a book, a comic book or a newspaper, the conversation alone will be worth it.
Start reading without all the expectations of creating larger vocabularies or keeping your child on track for school. They don’t care about all that stuff. They just want time with you whether they admit it or not. Reading together is great for this.
Read with your children for fun. Enjoy their company. Enjoy the conversation that comes from opening a good book together. The rest will follow.
However, if you find your child is struggling with reading, it is important to seek out help. The sooner reading challenges are addressed, the more likely your child is to find success in school and later in life. Please contact us if you have any questions about reading struggles or would like to learn more about our reading instruction programs.