The Transylvania Times -

Reading Aloud Makes A Difference Wherever You Are


December 4, 2017

One of my fondest memories as a child is having my parents read me a book before bed. This was the part of our nightly routine that I looked forward to the most. My early introduction to the world of books is most definitely the reason that I love reading to this day. Now that I’m a librarian and have read the research, I know that families reading aloud together is one of the best ways to grow a strong reader.

Children who start kindergarten with well-developed early literacy skills have an advantage since reading is essential to school success. One way to begin building these skills is to read to your child beginning at birth. Reading together has many advantages, such as building vocabulary and getting children excited about reading. One way to show your child that reading is fun is to choose books that follow his or her interests or better yet, let your child choose his or her own books. Your child may latch on to a certain book, and you might cringe as you start reading it for the tenth (or fiftieth) time, but repetition is a good thing! As you read the story over and over again, ask your child questions and have them tell part of the story. This is helping build narrative skills or the ability to recall events and tell stories.

Reading aloud together doesn’t have to stop once a child starts school. Continue to read aloud to build vocabulary, comprehension, a love of reading and books, and even family connections. The library has a list of great family read-aloud books that include, “James and the Giant Peach” by Roald Dahl, “The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe” by C.S. Lewis, and “Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH” by Robert C. O’Brien.

Even family and friends who live afar can join in the read-aloud experience. Whether you use Skype, FaceTime, Google Hangouts or another video chat service to connect with your family, you can turn your visit into a reading adventure. A question that’s been popping up more and more here at the library is, “Do you have any recommendations for books to read when I Skype with my grandchild?” The answer is yes! The best books to choose for a video chat have bright big pictures, are fun to read, and are relatively short. Be sure to ask questions and engage the child whenever possible. Listed below are a few recommendations for video chat:

•“Green Is a Chile Pepper: A Book of Colors” by Roseanne Greenfield Thong. A vibrant rhyming book about colors that uses both English and Spanish words.

•“The Three Bears” by Byron Barton. A retelling of the classic story of Goldilocks.

•“The Snowy Day” by Ezra Jack Keats. This Caldecott Medal winner is about a boy exploring his world covered by snow.

•“Stack the Cats” by Susie Ghahremani. Counting with colorful cats.

•“Brownie & Pearl Hit the Hay” by Cynthia Rylant. Go through a bedtime routine with Brownie and her cat, Pearl.

•“Supertruck” by Stephen Savage. The story of a garbage truck who is an unlikely hero.

•“Muncha! Muncha! Muncha!” by Candace Fleming and G. Brian Karas. Mr. McGreely tries to keep bunnies out of his garden, but the bunnies have other plans.

•“Rhyming Dust Bunnies” by Jan Thomas. Big bright illustrations abound in this humorous rhyming book.

•“Early Bird” by Toni Yuly. Follow bird on her quest for breakfast.

Wordless picture books are also great for video chat. The story is told by looking at what is happening in the pictures. It’s a great way to engage readers in the experience. A few wordless picture books at the library are listed below:

•“The Carpenter” by Bruna Barros. A boy uses his imagination after his electronic device is rendered unusable.

•“Fish” by Liam Francis Walsh. Letters are the focus of this book when a boy and his dog go fishing.

•“The Lion & the Mouse” by Jerry Pinkney. A wordless retelling of one of Aesop’s fables.

No matter where you are, reading aloud can be a part of your family’s routine. The more exposure to reading and books, the more successful your child will be in school. And as the days get cooler, it’s the best time of year to snuggle under a blanket with a good story.

(Brock is the Youth Services Librarian at Transylvania County Library.)


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