By: Davida Grant
Reading is a big deal in my house, and not only for the obvious reason (I want literate kids!). Books can expose children to uncharted creativity. I say uncharted because the images a child creates from reading may be the first of its kind, at least for that child. And aren’t creativity and imagination the catalyst for the exciting products and inventions we enjoy on a daily basis? So, I encourage all parents to engage their children in reading activities at a young age to develop and hone these important skills.
This past weekend, my stepson Frankie (6-years old) was with us and I asked him to read a few books to Simone. He was literally distraught. It was the absolute last thing in the world he wanted to do. Once he figured out, and quickly, that this was not an optional activity, he got with the program and began reading the first book. It was about going to the doctor. After a few pages, I could tell he wasn’t comprehending anything and wasn’t having fun AT ALL. So I decided to shake things up. After each page, I started asking questions, relating the character’s (Fozzie Bear) experience to Frankie and Simone’s experiences when they visit the doctor. Frankie started to perk up. He showed me where his doctor puts the stethoscope, how his doctor checks his temperature, and on and on. The more we talked, the more and more excited Frankie became. He wanted to continue reading to see what else Fozzie Bear experienced. Of course, Simone couldn’t be outdone. She had to join in and tell us every random thing she could think of related to her doctor and she told us over and over.
Once we finished the first book, I decided to read them the second book. I read it with great feeling and expression. Anytime the book described an activity, I demonstrated it. The kids loved it. At one point, the book described a band comprised of a drum and horn and I started beating on the table and making sounds. Frankie and Simone joined in, making up their own versions. We started dancing and jumping around. When I finished reading the book, the kids were full of giggles and smiles. “That was fun,” Frankie said. And it was.
How do you make reading fun?