Make Reading a Family Affair
Many parents read to their children when they are small, from birth to grade 2 or 3 but ease off of reading aloud once their child has become a reader in their own right. A recent study published by Scholastic may have you rethinking this and continuing to read aloud even once your child has become a proficient reader him/herself.
The Kids & Family Reading Report is packed with reasons to read to your child/ren. By reading aloud, and making the experience a family affair, you will be modeling reading as a desirable behaviour as well as immersing your child/ren in language; demonstrating the flow of language, exposing them to complex language and how to add expression to their own reading experiences. The infographic below also indicates that children who are read to are more likely to become readers themselves, to gravitate towards reading and see it as fun.
From Scholastic Kids & Family Reading Report pg 43
Toronto Public Library has a vast collection of books that will make great read aloud adventures. Whether it is a picture book, beginning chapter book or novel to serialize over many evenings, the librarian in your local branch would be thrilled to help you select the perfect story to share with your family. I have added a few of my favourite read alouds to get you started!
Grandfather Twilight by Barbara Berger is an older title, published in 1984. Happily we still have it on our shelves in 19 of our branches (you can place a hold on it and the title will be delivered to the branch of your choice). This is a fantastic bedtime read. The story is told in glorious illustrations and very simple text. This was such a favourite of my youngest child that she kept the book in her bed with her and would "read" the story to herself after I had finished reading it to all three of my children. It is a soft and inviting book to read just before bedtime, lulling even the most reluctant sleeper into lullabye land.
Another great bedtime story (with sequels to boot) is Chester by Melanie Watt. Chester is a mischievious cat, who is rather certain that he would make a better character in the story than the mouse that Melanie is writing about. This book has the very strong voice of Chester, and an equally strong voice of the author, battling for artistic control of the book. All children will love the antics of Chester and the attempt of Melanie to regain control of the story. There are two additional Chester books, Chester's Back! and Chester's Masterpiece. Melanie Watt is a very talented Canadian author and illustrator and you could spend many happy hours with your child/ren reading her books.
Another very prolific Canadian author is Hazel Hutchins. Her most recent short novel The Great Bike Rescue is nominated on the Silver Birch Express reading list from the Ontario Library Association. This book has three children solving a mystery of stolen bikes in their small town. It is very easy to read aloud, and Hazel has an amazing way of drawing the reader into the story. If your children like this book then they should definitely read Sarah and the Magic Science Project and Prince of Tarn. These are two of my favourite books written by Hazel (and I have read them all!) combining magic, imagination and beautiful language.
I hope this post has encouraged you to read aloud to your child/ren throughout their childhood. Share your favourite read aloud books in the comments section!