I love libraries. I have worked in libraries of all kinds, and I love those “ah hah!” moments when a student suddenly comprehends a concept, or when a patron finds a book they love. Libraries create a lot of happy moments.
My favorite library-related memories are of the times when I read to my own children. As a parent, I have always tried to stress the importance of reading. In the scholarly world, academics have known for decades that reading with your children is incredibly effective. Modern educators do everything they can to find new methods for helping parents as they read with their children.
Some educators are having great success with multi-modal reading. This involves the use of tablets and other devices that use text, audio, visual aids, and fun interactive games to stimulate the learning process. They can highlight words as they are read aloud, and, in some cases, the reader can chase a monster to the end of the book.
Other studies have shown the value of reading to animals. Our pets can have a calming effect. They love you no matter how comfortable you are in the reading process. Our children can practice reading in a safe and secure environment. The Reading Education Assistance Dogs (R.E.A.D.) program, founded by Intermountain Therapy Animals in Salt Lake City, focuses on improving literacy as children read to highly trained therapy dogs.
Paired reading is the most traditional method for teaching literacy, but it is also the most effective. This is the process of sitting with your children, having them select a book, and then reading aloud together. As they get comfortable with the reading process, they can read more and more of the book themselves. If they come across a word that they aren’t comfortable with, then you can help them with that word. Be sure to praise their efforts and read with them often.
Very little children can benefit from board books that encourage interaction with parents. As we sit with our children, we should help them see how the shapes, colors, and other things in board books relate to the real world. You may be surprised by how much children enjoy board books that focus on everyday tasks, like going to the store or visiting grandma. Board books can stimulate little minds in amazing ways, and you will cherish the memories you create as you go through the books together.
I feel privileged to be a part of an institution that supports parents as they raise great readers. I cherish the memories I have of reading with my small children, and it makes me happy to think of all of the other parents in my community who are having amazing moments with their own children. Read with your children. You will be glad you did.