Sunday, May 17, 2009

Reading to Kids of Different Ages

A couple of weeks ago I read something in the Read Aloud Handbook that I thought was interesting. Jim Trelease said that if you have children who are more than three years apart you need to read to them seperately.

This was a light-bulb moment for me. When we read aloud at night to our children we are usually reading scripture and then something like the Chronicles of Narnia, Fablehaven, Harry Potter, Nancy Drew, etc. And while our two oldest will sit there totally engrossed in the story begging for another page, or two littlest usually play trucks, talk to each other, and sometimes cause disruptions.
Anyway, when I read that I realized that because those two little kids could just not "get" the story the same way the big kids werethey weren't actively participating. Thus, they were not getting the same benefits that the other kids were. I'm sure it was better than not reading at all... at least they got the positive association with books, realized my husband and I value reading, etc.... but it was definitely not the best experience they could have.
Since, that day I've tried to make a conscious effort to read to these little ones during the day by themselves (or the two little ones together). The first time I asked my almost 5 year old to bring me some stories to read to him I was shocked at what he chose: touchy-feely, lift the flap board books, books that I thought he had outgrown. Then, I realized that just because his older brother wanted me to read him Harry Potter and Nancy Drew at that age, didn't mean this little guy was ready for that yet.
I am so glad I read that passage in the Read Aloud Handbook. I've really enjoyed re-discovering the joy of reading with my two little guys.
p.s. If you are interested in getting your own copy of the Read Aloud Handbook please let me know. I can get some through Usborne Books and More at a great deal right now.

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