This picture came up on my Facebook On This Day today. As a mother of avid readers and a person trained in the art of educating children who are in the process of becoming readers, I can’t agree with this statement more.
So often, people put emphasis on how children read. My son read at a Lexile level of xxx. My daughter needs to be reading this level of book. I taught in schools were reading was pushed to take tests, not just reading tests in class, but also AR (accelerated reader) or other programs similar to this. They were forced to read books within a certain reading level.
I don’t believe this is the right approach… (gasp!)
Learning to read is not always a natural process for all children, but learning to love stories should be. Children should already have a love of books before they step one foot into school. Learning to love stories starts by sitting in the lap of a loved one and hearing a story read aloud. It is fostered by hearing the same stories over and over and over. When children get to pick the books they hear read to them, they learn what they like and what they don’t like from books.
Parents do not always know, but just because your child has learned to read doesn’t mean you should stop reading aloud to them. Choose books your child cannot read independently, but would love to hear. I believe that children should be exposed to chapter books around the age of 4 or 5. This is an age where they have excellent imaginations and can learn to start to see the pictures in their head. They can start to retain the story from one day to the next.
When children are motivated to move forward and see that the world open up in books, they will want to read. Even struggling readers want to read. I never told my students what they had to read. There were children who would pick up books way beyond their level, but they were motivated by the story. They would fight through he book just so they could say they read it. I also know children, including my own, who will pick out picture books when they were reading much longer chapter books. Who are we to say what they should or should not read.
Read to Me
Read to me riddles and read to me rhymes
Read to me stories of magical times
Read to me tales about castles and kings
Read to me stories of fabulous things
Read to me pirates and read to me knights
Read to me dragons and dragon-book fights
Read to me spaceships and cowboys and then
When you are finished- please read them again.