Read to your Children…It Pays Off

Youth and computersTHUNDER BAY – It is an idea as old as reading itself. When parents read to their children, and children read to their parents, it is the basis of a life long positive reading experience.

Honestly it is a great way to pry the kids away from the computer, and an even better way to get the older teens even spending time with younger siblings.

When parents read with and to their children, it allows them to bond over a good book, and also helps the children develop a lifelong habit of reading. In this video podcast, the Reid family reads a book together, with each person taking a different part in the story. The parents act as reading role-models and ask probing questions; they encourage the children to solve problems, and get involved in the story.

Steven: Reading with and to your child is important for the sheer enjoyment of bonding over a good book and developing the lifelong habit of reading.

In this clip, the whole Reid family participates in a Reader’s Theatre experience.

Steven: So this really is the best part of the night. So we follow a consistent routine which is either bath and then always brushing teeth and combing our hair and then

we get in bed and we’ll read a story. And so recently we’ve been reading a Reader’s Theatre story so each of the girls will have a part and mommy and daddy will also have a part. So it’s a great way to be interactive.

Other stories that we like to read are stories that the girls have watched a movie. It’s a great way to make connections between a movie and then a text. Talk about the differences. And so we try to, as much as possible, when there are times in a story where it connects to another book that we’ve read, make those connections with the girls. So what does that remind you of? Why do you think that character did that? Why is she sad? And so we talk about those types of feelings that the characters would have, so that they really connect with a book.

Mary: We also want to try to make them connect to their own personal lives as well. So we always ask questions about why do you think–how do you think that character feels and have you ever felt that way? And that we feel certainly deepens their understanding of the text and they’re able to talk about it at a much deeper level.

And we also want to make sure that we read to them on a regular basis but that they read to us as well and that–so they can hear good models of what fluent readers do and that we also support them in their own reading. So reading to, reading with and letting them read to us.

Steven: And then whenever we have family over, if we have Uncle Calvin or Nama(?) and Papa over, they’ll take our place so that they get some different examples of people in their lives reading to them and so it really becomes a family event.

Mary: Okay. Okay. We’re going to read.

Girl: Princess and Prince Power.

Mary: We’re going to read Princess Power …

Girl: We’re going to read …

Mary: And we’ll read …

Girl: Called Princess and the Pea.

Mary: So which character are you going to take on Kiana?

Kiana: I am going to take the narrator.

Mary: Okay. Asia, which one do you want to be?

Asia: The queen.

Mary: You want to be the queen?

Asia: Yeah.

Mary: Okay. Since daddy’s the only boy …

Steven: I’ll be the prince.

Mary: And I’ll be the girl. Okay.

Kiana: The princess girl.

Mary: Okay. Go for it.

Kiana: “Once upon a time there was a prince who lived in a rich kingdom.”

Steven: “I am a prince. I live in a rich kingdom. I have a problem.”

Kiana: “He has a big problem. It’s time for him to marry.”

Steven: “It’s time for me to marry but …”.

Asia: “But what?”

Steven: “I can’t find a real princess.”

Asia: “A real princess?”

Kiana: “He wants to marry a real princess.”

Steven: “I have been around the world.”

Asia: “Around the whole world?”

Kiana: “Not the whole world.”

Steven: “Most of the world. I have met many princesses.”

Kiana: “He has met so many princesses.”

Steven: “And not one was a real princess.”

Asia: “Not one?”

Steven: “Not one!”

Asia: “Drats!”

Kiana: “He searched and searched. Not one was a real princess.”

Steven: “Find me a real princess, Mother.”

Asia: “I will my son.”

Kiana: “Knock, knock, knock. Wait! Someone is knocking at the door.”

Asia: “Is someone knocking at the door?”

Steven: “Someone is knocking at the door.”

Asia: “Who can it be?”

Steven: “I don’t know. I will open up the door and find out.”

Kiana: “It was a girl. She was all wet. She made a big puddle on the floor.”

Steven: “Who are you? You are all wet. You have made a big puddle on the floor.”

Mary: “Hello. Achoo! I am a princess.”

Kiana: “The queen has a plan.”

Asia: “I have a plan.”

Steven: “She has a plan.”

Asia: “I will find out if she’s a real princess.”

Steven: “How Mother?”

Kiana: “How indeed!”

Mary: “I couldn’t sleep.”

Kiana: “Aha!”

Asia: “Then you are a real princess.”

Steven: “You must be a real princess!”

Mary: “I am a real princess.”

Kiana: “She is a real princess, you silly people.”

Asia: “Then you will marry my son.”

Steven: “Then I will marry you.”

Mary: “No thanks. You people are whacky.”

Kiana: “So the real princess left and the prince is still looking for a real princess to marry.”

Asia: The prince.

Steven: Yay.

Asia: The prince.

Kiana: Prince to marry.

Mary: “The end.”

Steven: During this podcast, the Reids modelled fluent reading and asked an occasional probing question to deeper [sic] their children’s understanding of the story.

Everyone took part and had fun together.