How Do We Help Preschoolers Enjoy Reading?
As parents and educators we all have the goal of opening up the world of words and reading to our young children and students. But how might we spark attention and engagement with story books by our young learners?
A major contribution of the story-reading experience is the pleasure that it can bring. First of all, stories are often very interesting. They talk about children, animals, pretend characters, funny situations, even frightening events that usually turn out all right. Entering into the world of stories on their own is something that many children want to do once they have experienced the joy that stories can bring. So lots of exposure and experiences with stories can build a positive attitude toward reading and hopefully a strong desire to learn to read.
Aside from a child’s interest in the stories themselves, there is an emotional/social component of the story-reading experience. The personal interaction between adult and child is almost always a positive, nurturing, time together. Story book reading often takes place with the child on the parent’s lap, or snuggled besides classmates as the teacher reads aloud. The bedtime story may be one of the most positive times of the day for parent and child, especially if it is a nightly ritual. Because the parent and child know the routine, usually the negotiations that characterizes other activities during the day is not present at bedtime story reading ( except maybe for number of books to be read ). The book , as the basis for interaction, makes talking together easy. Bedtime story reading is also often wrapped up with other bedtime rituals like the goodnight kiss, singing a lullaby, and tucking in, which are among the most nurturing and positive of parent-child interactions.
If a child’s experience with books is enjoyable, and it occurs under especially warm and nurturant conditions, the feelings associated with reading and books are likely to be highly positive. The development of such positive attitudes toward books and reading is one of the most important contributions of early book-reading experiences. So parents be sure to put the evening bedtime story as a high priority on your daily list of tasks to be done! This simple, daily, bonding activity can provide a lifetime of learning and knowledge for your child.