Power of Books
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There is something about a book that has power. A book can pull the reader into a quiet, driven solitude to dig to the end of a story, and it can pull people together to discuss the meaning and the feelings it evoked. As children are learning to read and discover the power of a book, their interaction with an adult through a book can have lifelong connections.
I remember my elementary school principal reading “The Velveteen Rabbit” over the intercom each spring. This was her “book”, it was the book that spoke the most to her and she was driven to share it with an entire school of children every year. If I close my eyes and think really hard, I can smell the dusty chalkboards and hear the crackly sound of the intercom as she read. When I see that book, I automatically go back to those feelings and memories.
Imagine the memories you are making with your own children as you read to them!
Sometimes reading a book to your child is more than just telling a story. It’s making a connection. It is a time when they have you all to themselves with no phone, no television and no computer interrupting them. They can snuggle by your side or on your lap, look at vivid pictures and feel the rhythm of your breathing as you read out loud. The smile, the laugh, the giggle that escapes you as you read is not going unnoticed by your little shadow by your side. They remember the smell of your clothes, the way your voice rises in pitch at the exciting part of the book and they remember the time you took to discover a story together.
Here are some tips to keep in mind the next time you read with your child, to help make the most of your connection.
- Put away technology! This means your phone, computer, tablet and television! Let them know that you are putting them first.
- Take your time reading out loud. Try not to rush and read fast. Listening to your natural rhythm of reading out loud will help your child to develop the skill to read at a natural, even pace.
- On occasion, follow along the words with your finger or a pencil. They may not be able to read the words, but watching and hearing you read will help them establish the relationship of reading and understanding.
- Don’t be afraid to stop on a page and ask them questions about the story or the pictures! A few questions can help ensure they are understanding what you are reading, and encourage critical thinking skills. Examples of questions could be; How did the rabbit feel? What season is this picture set in? What do you think happens next?
- Enjoy the time your child wants to snuggle up and be read to! Before you know it they will be too big for your lap, and will be reading chapter books on their own!
Establishing a reading relationship is not something that comes natural to everyone. It can take some practice and some dedication to find the time and the way! Eventually, you will find your velveteen rabbit story too.