Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Reading aloud with your child - top tips to kick start the fun.

Sponsored by Australian Scholarships Group (ASG)

Since our twins were infants we have been reading to them , my their favourite book was

Where is the Green Sheep ?

 Thankfully - a sturdy board book. Ours is falling apart well-loved and much read.

Soon my husband and I had to read to the twins separately if we wanted more than board books and some variety - because both boys wanted to tear turn the pages and rip lift the flap at the same time. It was our favourite way to settle them for bed or even if they were a bit grumpy during the day.

We loved to act this book out !
Where the wild things are ( we re -named the Wild things to people we knew ha-ha)
The Very Hungry Caterpillar  
Oh No David
Spot (series)
Dear Zoo 
any Mem Fox

...where do I stop ? or rather start ?

They always wanted more stories !
I'd be lying if I didn't admit - much as I enjoyed reading - some nights , I just wanted the bedtime routine over with - "Go the      to sleep ".
I was often guilty of skipping pages and 'reading my own script' when I could get away with it.

“We must not teach our children to read. It just happens as result of love, attachment, involvement, engagement.”
Mem Fox, author of Possum Magic, and Reading Magic (in a discussion with ASG’s KidsLife editor, Leigh Hay)
"It all begins with you." 

Reading aloud to your children helps build connections with your children. It helps contribute to a deeper bond between you and each child as you share the fun of language and stories together. It allows you to learn about their favourite things and topics. Some books for boys are positively hilarious "Poo Bum"

I love reading and I enjoy the relative stillness and quiet closeness and shared time reading books with my boys. It is a very precious time for me and it makes my heart sing when my husband reads with them.

They take turns reading to my husband and I ...*sob* they fight over whose turn it is to read to Daddy...only because I pick them up on words and pace.

Sam is an avid reader and last year went from reading at year 1 level to reading at yr 3 level. Sam reads without putting the brakes on for fullstops or commas.
Joel is not as keen to read, though he finished the year reading at his peer level. He struggles with unfamiliar words and baulks at trying them.

Sam reads signs, tickets, documents, facebook over my shoulder and graffiti ...he reads me all the TV ads to me. Just in case I missed them LOL.

Remembering that every child learns at a different rate will help your child increase their sense of achievement as they read their favourite books -over and over- even if they seem too easy and don't challenge them . I try not to compare my twins -
Joel says "I'm not a genius like Sam" when I try to coax him to read a bit more (Instead of play Ps3 games...though some require reading too)

This was a talking book - you could record your own voices.

Our School's approach to reading is RATS - children read aloud to someone 4-5 days a week ,any variety of materials. Within weeks they start to establish daily home reading practice.

It helps your child if you’re supporting his or her reading at home while continuing to read aloud with them. We read around 10-15mins a day, and research shows that even 10mins makes a difference.
This is less than half of our books.
Our bookshelves contain 100's of books - thanks to their older brother, cousins and my collections from op shops. I can't wait to read Andy Griffiths again.

  • Do begin reading to your child as soon as possible.
  • Use Mother Goose rhymes and songs to stimulate an infant’s language, and other books that include repetitions.
  • As your child grows, add books that contain story lines that they can guess at, but continue reading rhyming and song books.
  • When you begin reading picture books, choose those that have only a few words on the page, and then shift to picture books that have a few sentences. Gradually, your child will be ready for books with fewer pictures and more text, but don’t rush this.
  • When your child is old enough, get him or her to turn the pages for you. This will get and keep your child more involved.
  • From time-to-time, stop at a word so that your child can provide the word.
  • Reading together is an acquired habit, just as listening is, so give your child time to get used to it, just as you will need time to get used to reading aloud.
  • Choose books that you liked as a child when you begin reading aloud. This will help you get used to reading aloud - the more you do it, the better you get at it.
  • Read slowly when you read aloud, and if you feel comfortable doing so, try to vary the tone, volume, and kind of voices you read in to your child. He or she will love it.
  • As you get more experienced with reading aloud and with the books you and your child select, you can vary your pace at various parts of the book as you read the story.
  • Create a wall chart or list of the books that you and your child have read together, so your child can see his or her progress and mark down favourite books. This idea works well if you are using books that you’ve borrowed from the library.
  • Research has shown that it’s valuable for fathers to read to their children too, not only mothers. A father’s early involvement in his child’s reading, can show children positive male role modelling.
  • Let your child see you reading for learning and pleasure.
  • Have books and magazines around the house for all family members. It doesn’t hurt to turn off the TV occasionally too.
  • Everyone has used the television as a ‘babysitter’, but it’s really valuable to involve your child in your activities and explain what you’re doing. While this can slow you down, it will help your young child’s language and literacy skills immeasurably.
  • Allow children to settle down before you begin reading.
  • Asking them if they are ready is a good idea, don’t take on the role of authoritarian teacher at home.
  • Where possible, avoid long descriptive passages and large sections of dialogue. This kind of reading challenges both the listener and reader too much, and becomes tiring.
  • Bedtime reading is considered one of the best private investments you can make in your child’s education and it’s free!
(Credit - Australian Scholarships Group (ASG) -Reading aloud with your child:the kick-start to learning)

Reading selections:
There a multitude of websites to help select reading material for children.
• Mem Fox – www.memfox.net – Author Mem Fox provides lots of reading tips for children
• MyLittleBookcase.com.au – www.mylittlebookcase.com.au –
Editor Jackie Small has developed a website based on reading with children
• PlanningWithKids – www.planningwithkids.com.au – Mum to five children aged three to 13 and avid blogger, Nicole Avery provides some great tips for parents. Be sure to checkout these posts (and do a search on her site):

I also use the Premier's Reading Challenge for a guide. We have completed the last two years.

It’s never too late to start reading aloud to your child when my older son was 10-11yrs old in year 5 - their homework was parents had to read aloud to children. His teacher had the idea that children of this age were never read aloud to by parents.

Currently, we are enjoying Tashi books and Zac Power which they received for Christmas. Tashi is so clever.

Australian Scholarships Group (ASG) is a not-for-profit organisation and specialist education benefits provider.  ASG has supported over 509,000 children and their families to offset the cost of education.  But now ASG is moving towards offering more than just education funds. They’re creating an ever-expanding suite of resources, online tools and guides - like the ‘How to motivate your child to learn’ e-guide - to support parents and nurture children in their educational journey so they can reach their full potential. Visit www.asg.com.au to discover member benefits or call 1800 648 945.

More articles regarding education issues, development, family members and parenting available on www.asg.com.au/resources

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What have you been reading lately ?