‘Tis the Season to be Reading
It’s that time of year again! Families are coming together to visit and remember past holidays and traditions. Some of us are lucky enough to live close to our children and grandchildren, but there are those of us who aren’t so fortunate. We want to keep in touch and be more involved in our loved ones’ lives, but how do we do it in only a few short days? One of the best ways for Boomers to spend some special quality time with grandchildren is to read to them. Experts agree that reading to children is extremely important to their learning and growth. But, dare I say it? Many of us may have lost our touch. So, how do we choose a good book? It’s important to find one that you’ll enjoy, too!
First, where do you find a good book? In addition to visiting the Library and asking the experts, your friendly Youth Services Librarians, there are some helpful websites you may consult:
100 Picture Books Everyone Should Know (New York Public Library)
2010 Notable Children’s Books (Association for Library Service to Children)
Best Illustrated Children’s Books of 2010 (New York Times)
Read Aloud America
If you are reading to older children that have a longer attention span or children of varying ages, try some of the titles recommended at:
Best Read-Aloud Chapter Books (Good Reads)
In addition, there are several excellent books to help you find good books to read aloud:
At Torrance Public Libraries, picture books (Easy Books), most of which are designed for reading aloud, are shelved separately from Beginning Reader books that children read independently, so it’s easy to find a good book that is age appropriate.
Now that you’re ready with an enticing book, how do you read to your grandchild?
• First, pick a book that appeals to you – you’ll be much more likely to read with enthusiasm if you enjoy the storyline and/or illustrations. It’s a good idea to preview the book(s) if you have time.
• Get comfortable! Pick a quiet, cozy spot where you can give your undivided attention to your grandchild.
• Use an animated voice. Read the story using a different voice for each character. Don’t be afraid to ham it up – this is the time to practice all your best drama skills.
• Choose a book with rhyming words. Rhythm and repetition are excellent forms of fun!
• Leave out some of the words and let your grandchild fill them in.
• Encourage your grandchild to point to pictures or words in the book as you read.
• Read with an accent (especially if you find yourself getting bored with the book!)
• Ask your grandchild what they think will happen next. Asking questions will help focus attention, gives your grandchild a chance to participate, and may lead to interesting discussion.
• Change the words. Substitute outrageous words like hippopotamus or pickle that have nothing to do with the story. Your grandkids will have a great time correcting you and you’ll all have a wonderful laugh!
Remember, reading to your grandchild can be enjoyable and fun for both of you. It’s a way you can become involved in his/her life and provide many lasting memories. Reading a good book with your grandchild doesn’t need to depend on your being physically present together; try reading to your grandchild over the phone or via video chat. It’s a wonderful way to contribute to your grandchild’s life!
If you do have a book that your grandchild has particularly enjoyed, share the title with your fellow Boomers below in our comments area – they may be inspired to try it as well.