April is a busy time of the year — for reading and literacy celebrations, that is!
It's National Humor Month, and there's International Children's Book Day (April 2) and National Library Week (April 13-19), not to mention Easter (April 20) and Earth Day (April 22).
Who doesn't love a celebration? And who doesn't want to dance when the celebration involves some reading with friends and family?
But with all this talk about reading aloud, how do we, as parents, really make our read-alouds count?
When we're given a million things to think about — reading comprehension skills like predicting, questioning, synthesizing; the super-important elements of fluency and decoding; and basics like phonological awareness and concepts of print — how are we supposed to really know what to do during our precious reading time with our kids?
What is the absolute most important thing to remember during read-alouds?
It's actually pretty simple. With all that's on our plate, with homework, standardized tests, extra-curricular activities, online safety, family and work obligations, we need to keep it fun.
We need to make reading with our kids light and enjoyable.
No matter what, read-alouds with kids must be fun. If they're not fun for kids and parents, then there's no way we can sneak in anything extra.
How do we make read-alouds fun?
• Pick great books. It's hard to go wrong with any of the Best Before-Bed Read-Aloud Books or many of the Scholastic Teachers' recommendations for best read-aloud books. Make sure your kids know how to choose "just right" books, or make finding the books at the library part of the fun by teaching them to search or by having a library scavenger hunt! Play on kids' interests when choosing books — it will help!
• Give it time. No rushing, speeding through the book, or skipping pages. Read it and enjoy it.
• Think about what you're reading. Really. Sounds simple, but it's true — if you're really present and truly thinking about the text as you read it — most likely you'll appreciate and enjoy it more. And those feelings will shine through to your child. Often. Those feelings are contagious. Your kids will enjoy it, too.
• Make it a habit. Reading together frequently will turn this activity into a habit, and when a behavior becomes habitual, it in turn becomes more natural and relaxed. When reading is relaxed, it's more fun. Join the 20 for 20 Family Reading Challenge. I guarantee it will help!
Reading should be celebrated every day, whether there's a "holiday" to mark it or not.
What do you think? Would you agree that the most important thing to remember during read-alouds is that it must be fun, or is there something else?
Share your thoughts on the Scholastic Parents Facebook page, or find Amy on Twitter, @teachmama, and let's continue the conversation!
Read all posts by Amy Mascott.