Friday, August 19, 2011

Books books and more books!

By Bec,

A favourite activity in our household is reading together.

We have LOTS of books.
Along with the bookcase full, my son has a small bookcase in his room full of books and my daughter has about 20 or so books always in her room.  On top of what we own, we are regular library visitors.  At our latest library visit (last Saturday) we borrowed 21, yes that's right 21 books.

You have got to love the library.  It's a great outing.  We have a routine, choose our DVDs, choose our toys, then our books.  Once we have chosen our books we sit down and read them on the comfy couches before borrowing (we didn't read all 21 on our latest visit!!).

Of course they have their favourites - my daughter's (2 year old) favourites at the moment are:
  • Tiger in a Pink Hat
  • Best Friend for Fofa
  • Koala Lou
  • Boo to a Goose, and
  • The Wheels on the Bus
My son's (nearly 5) favourites are:
  • Engelbert Sneem and his Dream Vaccuum Cleaner
  • Dr Seuses books
  • Aussie Bites and Aussie Nibbles
He has just started getting into the shorter chapter books.

Reading out loud to kids has so many benefits.  One of the major ones for me is the bonding time we get.  Every day we are home I will get asked a few times by each child to "read me this book".  We sit together and have some cuddles whilst reading.  Savannah gets around 5-6 books before bed each night, Hunter would get a few less as his are longer! 

Mem Fox (a well known Australian Children's author) has given some tips to reading aloud.

Mem Fox’s Ten Read Aloud Commandments

1. Spend at least ten wildly happy minutes every single day reading aloud.

2. Read at least three stories a day: it may be the same story three times. Children need to hear a thousand stories before they can begin to learn to read.

3. Read aloud with animation. Listen to your own voice and don’t be dull, or flat, or boring. Hang loose and be loud, have fun and laugh a lot.

4. Read with joy and enjoyment: real enjoyment for yourself and great joy for the listeners.

5. Read the stories that the kids love, over and over and over again, and always read in the same ‘tune’ for each book: i.e. with the same intonations on each page, each time.

6. Let children hear lots of language by talking to them constantly about the pictures, or anything else connected to the book; or sing any old song that you can remember; or say nursery rhymes in a bouncy way; or be noisy together doing clapping games.

7. Look for rhyme, rhythm or repetition in books for young children, and make sure the books are really short.

8. Play games with the things that you and the child can see on the page, such as letting kids finish rhymes, and finding the letters that start the child’s name and yours, remembering that it’s never work, it’s always a fabulous game.

9. Never ever teach reading, or get tense around books.

10. Please read aloud every day, mums and dads, because you just love being with your child, not because it’s the right thing to do.

How often do you read to your kids?

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