Friday, October 18, 2013

The Power of Reading Aloud to Children

Last week I attended the 25th Annual COMO Conference. Our school is great about staff development, we are spoiled with staying current on the newest information through webinars and conferences.

I love this conference mainly because I get to attend with a hilariously awesome friend/coworker. She makes conferencing so fun! This is our second year attending in the same place so like last year, we both requested rooms next to the gym. Nothing felt better than getting on the treadmill after sitting in sessions all day. Eating out was a plus too since R and I rarely go out to restaurants!  

One of my favorite sessions was called The Power of Reading Aloud to Children by Janet Seigler, a Georgia media specialist. Selfishly, I wanted to go to learn the best ways to read to my sweet baby; her presentation did not disappoint. She had children's books I remembered reading as a child either by my parents or by a librarian, it was wonderfully nostalgic.

Her presentation was based on Judy Freeman's book, Books Kids Will Sit For Vol.3. I'll be checking that out soon,a great resource! She also suggested The Book Whisperer by Donayln Miller and Read to Me: Raising Kids Who Love to Read by Bernice E. Cullinan.

Her tips for keeping kids interested could be easily be applied to children at home:
  • Read what YOU like (if it doesn't hold your interest, you won't read it in an exciting tone)
  • Practice reading the book aloud ahead of time
  • Make eye contact with your child, make sure they can see the pictures easily
  • Before beginning the book, point out the author's name in case they want to read more titles
  • Make predictions of how the story will end
  • Be expressive/use voices
  • Read slowly allow their imagination to develop
  • Let them know when something important has happened
  • Play off their responses (I love this part)
  • Let your child actively participate
  • Ask them to draw after the book is finished

She shared amazing quotes too:
"Reading changes your life. Reading unlocks worlds unknown or forgotten... Through characters... reading shows you how to be a better human being."
Donalyn Miller
"Children still need to be read to after they learn to read on their own. They need to hear what good reading sounds like." 

Bernice E. Cullinan
"It is said that we make time for what we value, and if we value reading, we must make time for it." 
Donalyn Miller
This poem was on her swag baggies
(I've heard it before, but couldn't find the author):

The more you read,
The more you know.
The more you know,
The smarter you grow.
The smarter you grow,
The stronger your voice,
When speaking your mind
or making your choice.


Erin Elizabeth said...

I like the "make predictions" suggestion. This helps keep them intrigued...what do you think will happen next? How will so and so react to this? I'm glad you liked your session.

Lisa said...

I read a ton to my kids...I think I enjoyed it as much as they.

Mom said...

Oh , how much I loved those days of reading to you! You would get sooo wrapped up in the story, it made transitioning to bedtime so easy. I have the most wonderful video of you at 16-17 months "reading" to your stuffed animals. You were laughing and having a ball showing them the pictures... ahhhh good times, hahaha!!

J. said...

This is key. The world opens up for a child through books.

Giggles said...

I put a lot of thought into what book I wanted ti read to my child first. Books are so important and you can never start too young.

Monica Lynn said...

My little one year old looooves it when I read to her. She usually won't sit through a whole book but she loves turning pages and we point out color and count things in the book. I read somewhere when I was preggo that if you read books to your baby before they are born they get used to hearing your voice and the special lilt and phrasing you use, then when they are born it helps them calm down when you read to them because it reminds them of calm peaceful in utero snugglies.

I should look that up and make sure I'm not telling you an old wives tale, but either way it can't hurt, right?

Brenda said...

Reading slowly is something I have to work on when reading to kids! I always try to rush through. :-) Thanks for linking up to Quote Me Thursday!

Whitney said...

Thanks Brenda, I'm really enjoying being apart of it!

Julie S. said...

These are great tips. I've not read to kids before, but I will read to my future babies I'm sure of it.

Whitney said...

It is a great bonding experience!