Summer reading fun!
I've always loved books, even well before I could read them on my own. My mother was a children's library assistant and always made “story hour”,as we called it, fun. When my brother and I were older, and no longer needed picture books to help our imaginations, our mother read us classics like Heidi, The Magician's Nephew, The Waterbabies, and The Neverending Story. Every few chapters, my brother and I would draw what we interpreted was going on in the story and compare the illustrations. Other times, our mom would quiz us on important lessons in the books and explain what they meant. I owe a lot of my appreciation of books to mother reading to me when I was very young.
The benefits of reading to a child are enormous
Sharing a book with a very young child will help them understand language and broaden their vocabulary. Other than aiding in the development of verbal skills, reading to your child will help build a capacity for reading comprehension before they begin school. Beyond the obvious academic benefits, reading to your child is an excellent way to bond.
The battle for time
I do not have children of my own yet, but I understand the worries of friends of mine who do. I opted to have my cat live with my mom.Not because I wouldn't have enough time to feed her and change her litter box, but because I knew I wouldn't be able to give her the attention she needed. Spending time, quality time, with your child can be difficult to squeeze into an already heavy schedule. I'm not negating the obvious time spent caring for the child, preparing meals, taking care of daily functions, ect., but I do think it's important to recognize the difference. Most of the memories I have of my parents that are important to me are of them doing things with me, not for me.
A story here, a story there
We live in a society that says quality means quantity, when that actually isn't always the case. Storytime doesn't need to be an hour long everyday, and you definitely don't need to finish the book every time. Stories don't always need to be saved for bedtime either. Reading while preparing meals, or waiting in the car to pick a sibling up from an activity are great times to sneak in a story. For younger children, establishing a daily set time for stories is more important, but it certainly doesn't need to be the only time you share a book with them. If your family will be vacationing this summer, be sure to bring along plenty of books!
Storytime games and Library programs
Smaller children likely won't want to sit on your lap to hear the riveting tale of Jack and the Beanstalk, so including games will help keep their attention and interest, as well as tell the story. Inviting the child to “help” tell the story through acting it out is also fun. Check out a full list of storytime games for toddlers at the American Library Association website.
Libraries often offer fun and family-centered activities that promote reading during the summer months. The greatest thing about these programs is that they are open to all ages, so parents can get in on the fun too! Other than the cool prizes that can be won from reading many books, you can encourage your child to try books that they wouldn't have considered reading before. Some libraries even have themed events and feature books that will educate kids about the subjects chosen. Check out your local libraries for information about their summer reading programs!