Why Read to Readers?

Once children can read on their own, parents think their part is done, but reading aloud to children is about more than teaching them to read.  Listen to the video below to hear why parents should continue to read to older readers.

Why do you agree or disagree with Rebecca Bellingham's talk? 

A Reading Journey

If we believe reading matters, our children will see us demonstrate good literacy habits by turning to books during our free time. Over the years, my reading habits have changed with my lifestyle. As a single person, I enjoyed reading thrillers and suspense novels. After we started our family, in addition to reading picture books to our children, I only found time to read articles in magazines. Later, as our children grew older, I gravitated to non-fiction books. Now, with more free time, I read magazines, non-fiction, and fiction books.

Here’s the point: no matter what you like to read, keep doing it. Make it a habit in your home so that your children will emulate you by grabbing a book, too. As they continue to build literacy skills, down the road, you’ll see great things happen. 

What are you reading these days?



Educational Toys

By now, we can all agree on the importance of exposing babies and toddlers to books. Let’s consider other factors that help children develop a strong foundation for literacy. I didn’t rely on a computer to teach my children to read, but things have changed since then with so much technology geared to today’s youngster. Still, I believe there is a place for inexpensive, non-technical toys. Learning becomes a natural part of a child’s childhood when their toys have an educational component. Although I bought some technical toys, early on, I focused on ones like these:


We used to keep these magnetic letters on our refrigerator, and they were indispensable because I could play with our daughter while I cooked dinner. How convenient is that? After our children learned the sounds letters made, we progressed into creating short words and swapped out letters to create rhyming words. Before long, our kids were r-e-a-d-i-n-g, and yours will, too. Reading-related toys can bepricey and high-tech or garage sale economic. What’s your favorite reading-related toy?     


Surviving Repetitive Reading

Any parent who faithfully reads bedtime stories to their child knows the pros and cons of repetition. It’s great for kids to hear the same books over and over again, to enjoy the story’s rhythm and cadence. After a number of rereads, my children even memorized various passages of their favorite books. But, since I rarely reread a book, those repeated readings made me antsy.

Here’s how I survived reading repetition:

1.     Quantity. At night, give your child a wide selection of books from which to choose, decreasing the likelihood that you’ll read the same story every night. This strategy is short-lived because your child will eventually zero in on their favorites. So, we move to the next step.

2.     Brevity. On the evenings when I felt too tired to mumble a word or when a book seemed too long, I skipped a page. If this practice is the exception rather than the rule, you’ll discover that after several good readings your child will ask about the deleted parts. Don’t feel too guilty, you’re building their listening skills. Simply make a vow to read every page the next night.

3.     Creativity. Never underestimate humor and ingenuity. When our children bought a new book, I could do a straightforward reading for the first one or two months. After the millionth reading, I tossed in wacky character voices and an occasional dialogue change. Suddenly, The Little Train That Could was whining, “I don’t want to do it! Let me think about it.” Our children, familiar with the story by this time, laughed at the surprising story twists.

Bottom line? You’re unlikely to be a perfect bedtime reader. The good news? That’s not the goal. Consistency is the key. Set aside time to read to your child night after night and you‘re on your way to raising a good student who loves to read. These strategies helped me over the reading repetition hump. What are your comments or strategies for surviving repetitive reading slump?



The Reading Plan

In the old days, parents raised children to be seen and not heard. Today, most parents shape great students by seeing them, hearing them, and exposing them to tons of positive experiences, including books, music, art, and athletics. Intentionality is the key. A beautiful garden doesn’t grow on its own. A gardener cultivates it until the flowers bloom.

In a recent conversation, I discovered that I learned to read at an early age because my mother introduced me to the alphabet, flashcards, and easy five-word books. She also read to me. Unknowingly, I repeated her practice and read to my children, too. When our kids were four months old, we began their nightly book-reading routine. The time we put in paid off. We lived by this advice:  


Of course, some kids are born with great gifts, like the three-year-old opera singers and the geniuses who do calculus at age nine. Our exceptional kids (exceptional because they’re ours) deserve great head starts. Everyone connected to a child—parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, babysitters, teachers, librarians, and neighbors—can invest in shaping future generations of outstanding students. 

Who are you investing in and what’s your plan?