Perhaps you’ve reflected on the amazing benefits of regular read-alouds and are ready to consider tangible ways to prepare so once we turn the calendar to July, your read aloud routine will easily slip into your summer days and the magic can begin.
Let’s think about three important aspects…When are you going to read aloud? What are you going to read-aloud and Where are you going to read aloud? Only you know the schedule and structure of your family. Consider some optimal times that work for you. For example, first thing in the morning, serve up breakfast and while the kids are at the table, start the day with an article, a poem or a few pages from a novel that all of you are enjoying. Maybe, you go to the swim club or beach several days a week. Can you find some shade, gather your water-logged kiddos around you and read? How about late afternoon, when everyone is ready to chill out and relax? The main “rule” is to keep it simple and flexible. When you read aloud to your kids, you are the magician weaving a spell and holding the power to effect change. Relax and set a realistic goal-even once a week is better than nothing, then give thought to when this will fit into your schedule.
What will you read? The answer, anything that entices your children. Many of you will be reading aloud to multiple-age youngsters. Don’t let that deter you. Remember that a child’s listening level is higher than a child’s reading level. Listening to intricate language patterns and rich vocabulary will benefit all ages. Also, keep in mind that older children often enjoy revisiting cherished picture books that remind them of when they “were little”. Rely on my July blog posts to offer a host of suggestions and check out other appropriate resources for ideas. Sometime soon, take yourself (and your kids) to the library and choose a variety of picture books (fiction and non-fiction) and also a few children’s novels to consider.
Where will you read? Of course, there’s some overlap between the where and when, but some folks may have success setting up a special haven in their home for read-alouds. Do you have a cozy corner in the family room, a big shade tree out back, or a wonderful deck or porch? What special spots in your everyday environment invite closeness, confidences, and congeniality? How about read-alouds in the car using audiobooks? For many, this is a win/win, cutting down on commotion and keeping the kids entertained while on the road. Look for more about audiobooks in a future post.
So for the next few days, devote yourself to a little preparation and set yourself up for a successful read-aloud challenge.
ONE SMALL STEP: Talk to your children and jot down their favorite authors, genres, and books they want to read then borrow some of them from the library so you can see if they would be appropriate read-alouds for your youngsters.