Friday, January 23, 2009

Reading Aloud to your Baby and Preschooler

We have an overabundance of available reading material for babies and preschoolers. We are bombarded with the importance of reading to our children right from the beginning, and this is definitely true. However, many of the books on offer lack the criteria that would give them lasting value.

Books that are meant to be read aloud need to contain a cerain kind of language: the words need to flow, the story needs to be simple, and the illustrations must be appealing to the young child.

Surprise, surprise! Our culture has two great resources that tend to be forgotten in our tendency to look for something new and better: nursery rhymes and fairy tales!

Since many parents know some of these rhymes and stories, storytime can happen in the car or the kitchen, while your hands are busy.

The nursery rhymes have a rhythm and flow that appeals to the very young. If they hear them often, they can begin to fill in words that the parent omits. I would recommend that every new parent read the book by Mem Fox:"Reading Magic". She makes the case for nusery rhymes very effectively. Children who learn nursery rhymes can eventually "read" their collection of nursery rhymes.

The fairy tales must not be ignored either! You can tell these stories to your child even without a book, and change them and embellish them if the need arises!

Don't be concerned about political correctness and gender inclusiveness! These rhymes and stories are part of our oral heritage and parents need to keep them alive! They were the basis for learning to read for many generations: they have proved their worth!

No comments:

Post a Comment