When signing my son up for Chinese Immersion, one of the commitments requested from us as parents was to read to our child, in English, for at least 30 minutes each night. I will be honest, going from reading one or two short stories every night, to a commitment of 30 minutes or more was slightly intimidating. Now, I do feel lucky to be able to say that we took this request seriously. I have always loved books but never fully understood how reading could have such a wonderful impact on my little ones. In my research since, this simple request has had a tremendous effect on the success of our schools immersion programs and on my son’s ability to keep up with his non-immersion peers, thus far.
It took us a few weeks to get into the swing of things, as well as a bit more of a structured bed time. Yet it has become a pretty successful tradition in our house. Now we definitely don’t get to read 30 minutes EVERY night, but I would say we hit the mark four of the seven days a week. Some of the things we talk about informally while reading are the characters, their personalities, the main ideas and events. My favorite is when we anticipate what might be coming next in the story because of what we have previously read. These basic comprehension and story structure skills will carry over into your child’s ability to read, comprehend and understand literature in other languages!
Make it fun! You know your child, choose books that correlate with their interests or ask them to help you pick out stories they want to read. We started with Charlotte’s web, because my son has always wanted his own farm and I wanted to read something that we couldn’t finish in one night. We then hit a home run with the Harry Potter series, the verbiage can be challenging, the storyline is interesting and after we finish reading each book we make it a point to watch the correlating film. We are now to a point where his reading skills are good enough where we switch off readers, he’ll read one side of the page and I’ll read the other. I don’t think it really matters how you accomplish this time, if your child reads to you or you read to your child. The important part is that you get this time in and that you discuss the books and the characters with you kiddo.
What stories do your kids love and what works for your family? Happy Reading!
LESSON : Reading to your kids, even from a young age, helps develop literacy skills, vocabulary, concentration and stimulates the part of the brain that understands and learns language.