Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I Heart Library Living At Home: Reading Aloud

I'm often asked, how do you find the time to read to your children every day*?
 I make it a priority, and I make it super simple. 
How simple?

We read in bed.
And I keep a shelf of books right by my bed.

This quote inspired me years ago to make our home a living library:

"There were books in the study, books in the drawing room, books in the cloakroom, books (two deep) in the great bookcase on the landing, books in a bedroom, books piled as high as my shoulder in the cistern attic, books of all kinds reflecting every transient stage of my parents' interest, books readable and unreadable, books suitable for a child and books most emphatically not. Nothing was forbidden me."  ~ C.S. Lewis

How and What To Read Aloud

I try for 20 minutes per child; for me that's an hour. I have regrets about how much time I spend on the internet and TV, but I never regret this time. Reading to your children will quickly become your favorite moments of the day, not to mention theirs. Not sure? Read this. Or this. And this. Need inspiration? This father and daughter encourage me to read daily. 

Picture Books - Eighty percent of what I check out from the library is picture books. Why? 

You are never too old for picture books. If you're walking past that section of your library thinking "too young for me" you are missing out on an endless source of educational beauty. Try this, or this, or this. We learned so much from this and this. Pictures books are priceless knowledge for every age.  

Picture books are quick reads. Some nights you may not have 20 minutes to spare per child. Picture books will graciously give you peace of time. Try this, this or this.

Chapter Books - My goal is a chapter per night. I should mention that we start a lot of chapter books together, but the kids finish them on their own. Nick complains that I don't read fast enough - but this also isn't a regret. He may not have started the book if I hadn't read the first chapter. 

Tip: If your children aren't begging you to read another chapter, you may have the wrong book. I have two or three back-up chapter books just in case. That is another gift from the library: trying without buying = you'll take more risks on books that you might not otherwise pick up. Try this (thanks for the recommendation, Amy, my son loved this read), this (thank you, Pam, we all loved this great read), this, or any of these.  

Tomorrow I'll share Nick's shelf and how I read aloud with a 5th grader. Do you have tips on how you read aloud with your children every day? Please share!

*My Definition of Every Day: Almost every weekday night unless we are out late for some strange reason, mostly mornings on lazy weekends, and practically the entire morning and late evening during the summer months. But there are many days when we don't read - I'm not completely insane. 

xoxo Michele


I am LOVD said...

We find the time at bedtime and at breakfast in the morning, every morning before we head out for school. My son's teacher advised that parent's should read to their children, even through adolescence. I think it's especially important for boys to be read aloud to because it helps them to remain focused and trains them to pay attention. Often, boys lack this very important skill. Just remember, they are trainable and reading aloud helps with this:-)

I love how you labeled all the shelves as yours - so cute!

Amy Sullivan said...

Just two minutes ago, my daughter and I climbed out of our messy bed. With a good half hour of reading old Junie B books and giggles, life seems just right.

Thanks for encouraging us so, Michele.

Natalie T. said...

I am loving these posts! We are reading "dread crew" aloud right now. Can't ever just read one chapter. :) I am setting up a kitchen library this minute! Ps- Minna, who is three, just got her library card because she remembered that she could get her very own when she learned to write her name by herself. The day she wrote it herself, we marched down to the library. She was so proud! (so was I.). Have a great night!

I am LOVD said...

Have an poems you'd recommend to read to 4th graders?

Michele said...

I am near tears because of you guys up there - thank you for sharing with me - you've blessed my spirit.

Lilly, you are such a blessing. I'm hoping to read to my children until college - it really is my fave part of the day, I don't ever want that to end.

Some of our favorite poetry reading came from the book "Talking To The Sun" by Kenneth Koch. But we also adore Shel Silverstein, Langston Hughes (he has poetry books for children, our fave is E.B. Lewis's book "The Negro Speaks Of Rivers" and "My People" by Langston - you can find them at the library)and the series "Poetry for Young People". They are individual books and feature Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson, and Nick's fave: William Shakespeare (not really - he always says "creepy" but listens very, very intently). Hope you find them easily at your library. ;)

Amy - I can see it, your messy bed and the smiles bigger than Junie B! Joy, I tell you! Books are hugs and kisses, especially when delivered by your voice to your child's heart. thanks for making my night.

Natalie - you made my heart sing. Tell me more about the dread crew - I don't think I'm in on that fun and totally afraid we are missing out! Sweet Minna - you watch, she'll have her card number memorized before long!

Thanks for all the love!!

xoxoxo michele

Beth Coulton said...

I just posted about not being too old for picture books on my blog!

They are, indeed, my passion. Read aloud, read a LOT!