One of the greatest joys of being a grandparent is spending time with my grandchildren reading aloud. My grandchildren all have a love of books that started at a young age, thanks to the encouragement and support of their mom and dad. They started reading to them as soon as they were born and every night just before bedtime, they set aside a special time for each child to be read to by one of their parents, or allow the child to read.
Reading aloud to grandchildren is such a great way to interact with them and it gets them talking about things that spur their imagination – and sometimes shock me as a grandmother!
But that’s what makes it fun.
Now that Emma (8) and Connor (6) are starting to read more on their own, I love listening to them read aloud too.
Eighteen-month old Lily has already developed an intense love and curiosity for books. Just yesterday, Lily crawled up in my lap with her favorite little worn book and started pointing to pictures, impatiently waiting for me to begin reading.
What a joy!
Why read to children anyway?
The Reach Out and Read website is one of the best places I have discovered to locate literacy milestones for children of all ages, reading tips, and books for both children and adults. They cite some valuable reasons to read aloud to children, including:
- Children who are read to in their first years of life are much more likely to learn to read on schedule.
- Reading aloud will stimulate language and cognitive skills in young children and it helps them build curiosity, motivation and memory.
- According to research, the more words parents use when speaking to an 8-month old infant, the more words the child will retain in their vocabulary at the age of 3.
- The one-on-one interaction during a read-aloud time creates a special bond between children and their parents or grandparents and a positive association with books later in life.
Today on Twitter, the Reach Out and Read organization set a goal of 3,300 fans for Facebook. The objective is to spread the word about literacy and get more people engaged in reading aloud to young children. Just click here and “like” them and you’ll receive lots of tips and information on reading to children. And you’ll get lots of ideas for great books for children of all ages.
Reading aloud offers treasured memories for me as a grandmother – remembering the looks of excitement on their faces and remembering their unusual comments and inquisitive looks as we explore the world through books. These are memories that we will all cherish for the years to come.
I don’t need the scientific research to convince me that reading aloud to grandchildren is a good thing and it makes them smarter.
It’s the gleam in their eyes when we pick up a book together that does it for me!
Note: For more information on Richmond area locations where you can volunteer or donate books, visit this link.