Parents, exercise your kids' minds—September 5, 2008
Joseph Addison (1672-1719) is credited with saying “Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.” In order for our children to be fit of mind and body, it seems important for parents to do everything in their power to encourage both reading and exercise habits. The best way to encourage is to demonstrate.
Creating family reading time is an excellent way to help each member of the family exercise his or her mind. Reading aloud to children has been proven to improve school performance. For the youngest listeners, why not start off with a classic bedtime tale like “Goodnight Moon” by Margaret Wise Brown. For more movement and interaction, try the alphabet book, “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom” by Bill Martin or the “Ten Little Fish”, a counting book by Audrey Wood.
Any squirmy preschooler will fall in love with “Curious George” by H.A. Rey. And there are so many books in the series that the reader doesn’t need to get tired of repeating the same title over and over. The riddle format also delights preschoolers and helps them become part of the reading experience in “The Bear Came Over to My House” by Rick Walton.
Reading aloud is a wonderful way to introduce older children to more involved stories. I will never forget the sound of my father’s voice reading Rudyard Kipling’s “The Elephant Child”, one of the “Just So Stories” to me, while my daughter preferred “How the Rhinoceros Got His Skin.” Two other classics that are great family read alouds are “Charlotte’s Web” by E.B. White and “The Chronicles of Narnia” by C.S.Lewis.
If you need help finding that perfect book to share, “The Read-Aloud Handbook” by Jim Trelease and “Books Kids will Sit Still For” by Judy Freeman can offer hundreds of titles that will appeal to children and adults. For teens, take a look at “The Big Book of Teen Reading Lists” by Nancy Keane. And don’t forget the Hastings Public librarians are always willing to suggest a title when you need help.
Reading aloud isn’t just for kids - find a book to share with someone you love at the Hastings Public Library