Why Reading is so Great

[amazon asin=014312160X&template=thumbleft&chan=default]Jim Trelease, author of The Read-Aloud Handbook.
Topic:
Helping children become avid readers.
Issues: How reading aloud awakens children’s imagination and improves language skills; the rewards and importance of reading aloud to kids; the latest research about reading–including the good and bad news about digital learning.

Picture books can boost your child’s vocabulary

Interesting story reported by the Indo-Asian News Service. A study has claimed books having photographs but no words prove ideal for building children’s language skills. And, the parents can help their kids the best if they used such books for the bedtime story.

According to experts, parents turning to wordless storybooks end up spending time discussing the pictures and answering their toddler’s questions — exposing them to complicated words, Daily Mail reported.

Psychologists from the University of Waterloo, Canada, looked at 25 mothers as they read their children a set of bedtime stories.

They found the mothers used more advanced language when they picked up a picture book compared to a book with words.

Study author Daniela O’Neill said: “Too often parents will dismiss picture storybooks, especially when they are wordless, as not real reading or just for fun.

“But these findings show that reading picture storybooks with kids exposes them to the kind of talk that is really important for children to hear.”

O’Neill said while reading the picture story, “we would hear mums say things such as ‘where do you think the squirrel is going to go?’ or ‘we saw a squirrel this morning in the backyard’.”
“But we didn’t hear this kind of complex talk as often with vocabulary books, where mentioning just the name of the animal, for example, was more common.”
However, O’Neill also said books of all kinds could build children’s language and literacy skills, “but they do so perhaps in different ways”.

The article originally appeared here.

Non-Stop Chatterbox

I’ve got three kids. The middle one, who’s five, starts chattering the second she wakes up and doesn’t close her mouth until she’s asleep. On one hand, I love to hear her talk and have conversations about “Why this?” and “Why that?” But she’s exhausting me and I feel like my other children aren’t getting the attention they need because the 5-year-old is constantly interrupting. What can I do?

When babies are born, we look forward to all of their "firsts." First smile, first laugh, first steps, first words. Especially with our first baby, these are milestones that make us giddy with anticipation and cause us to break out the camcorder at every turn.

Then they start rolling . and walking . and talking – and we wonder, "What was I thinking??"

Infants get going rolling, then crawling and we are amazed at how quickly they get good at it and soon are getting from point A to point B in little more than a blink of an eye. Toddlers start walking sometimes just as an aside to running and seemingly thrill at their new found ability to run in the "wrong" direction every time. But we understand that though these may try our patience and challenge our creative problem solving skills at times that, "This too shall pass".

Talking is a whole different ball game. Or is it?

We wait so patiently for their first coherent words, regale friends and co-workers with tales of our baby’s babblings, pride ourselves in how well and early she’s speaking in full sentences. And then it starts – the flip switches on and there’s no off button in sight. And yes it can be exhausting.

But there’s good news! Young children learn at lightening speed with every sense available to them. This is such a good language learning time for them that adding a second language is a possibility. And reading to themselves is close at hand. All good things.

So how to embrace the chatter of this age group without losing your cool? And how do you ensure that the other members of the family get a word in edgewise meanwhile? Here are some ideas:

  • Learn to ask questions that require more than a "yes" or "no" answer. Questions that start with how many? when?, and what if? Are good places to start. How many nuts were in that bag that just spilled? When do you think the apples will be ready to pick? What if we didn’t do the dishes and take out the trash?
  • Take turns (literally at first) answering questions like these … include all of your children. This teaches the art of dialog rather than monologue.
  • Look for projects that the whole family can enjoy together. this way the project is the center of attention and not one child in particular.
  • Schedule reading times and quiet times – children this age are more than capable of entertaining themselves for short periods of time without getting into trouble. This gives everyone in the house a much-needed moment to recharge and regroup. Often a chatty child is a tired child and naps are not uncommon once they slow down.
  • Be as good a listener as you want your child to be. Children learn their talking and listening habits from us just as they do anything else, through observation and imitation. The better listeners we can be, the better they will ultimately be also.

Learning to talk and have co-operative conversations are important stepping-stones to reading. Once she’s reading, you’ll have some of that quiet thinking time of your own (perhaps a dim memory at this point) back. Meanwhile, find ways to appreciate that she does want to talk to you . ’cause this too shall pass . and be inclusive of everyone in the family.

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