Monday, August 18, 2014

Avoiding Summer Slide - Tips & Suggestions (#2 Reading Together)

I divide all readers into two classes; those who read to remember and those who read to forget.

–William Lyon Phelps

I love to read!  Historical Fiction, Romance, Mystery, Suspense, True Crime, Nonfiction - I read them all.  More often than not, I am a read to forget kind of girl, however I do occasionally read to remember. I have found that I can learn quite a bit about myself, others, and the world in general by reading a good book.  Because I have an appreciation for the knowledge and escape that comes from reading, I have always had a desire to pass that on to my children.

From the first day that I brought my babies home from the hospital, we have read together.  While some people thought that it was a bit extreme to read with my girls at such a young age, I have never regretted it.  Though the girls are now 8 & 10, and can (and do) read just as easily on their own, we still read together almost every day.  

Researchers have studied the benefits of reading with children, and I have yet to hear of one that doesn't recommend it.  However, experience has given me my own list of reasons why we love to read together:

1)  Vocabulary - It is very rare for Peanut or Pumpkin to come across a word that they don't recognize or can't figure out with context clues.  Occasionally, if they're feeling lazy, they'll ask what a word means, but usually they read ahead a bit or reread a sentence to figure out what it means on their own.  By reading books by authors from other countries, classic books that are written using terminology from a previous generation, and books and may be a bit older than their reading level, they are exposed to words, sentences, and phrases that make them think.

2)  Bonding - When we read together at home, the girls and I squish into our chair and a half, cuddle up with a blanket, and relax.  It is one of my favorite places to be.  While the girls still love hugs and are very affectionate, our reading/cuddle time is reminiscent of when they were babies and we'd sit cuddled together for hours at a time.  It is comfort!

3)  Conversation - Reading together gives us something to talk about.  We can talk about the book, or even topics that the book brings up.  I feel that serious topics, like death, drugs, poverty, etc., are a bit easier to discuss when they are relevant only in a book and not necessarily in their real lives yet.  Books open the door to discussions that need to take place.

Do you read together with your kids?  What benefits have you found?


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