Wednesday Blurb: Reading Aloud, Sharing Books and Being Thankful

Way back in August, I had said that I would “soon” offer my thoughts about the end of Booklights, a collaborative PBS Kids blog about reading. Well, “soon” never happened and now we’re kicking off a season filled with gratitude and reflection. So, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I am going to celebrate the opportunity that Booklights gave me.  I am forever thankful for the honor and opportunity Gina Ruiz gave me and the confidence the team – Pam CoughlinSusan Kusel, and Jen Robinson had in me, too.  It was a wonderful run and it nudged and stretched my comfort zones.

By the time you read this, Catherine, my mom, and I will be up to our elbows in flour, pumpkin, sugar, and spice … filling the house with all those wonderful smells.  We will have a houseful for the entire Thanksgiving weekend, and I am taking the lazy woman’s way out and pull out one of my old Booklight posts to hold you over until we come back. In the spirit of the season – and in hopes that you have time to settle in and enjoy some quality family time – I’ve picked the subject of sharing books.

Reading Aloud: Sharing Books with Audiences of Mixed Ages

originally published on Booklights, 23 August 2010

family reading together

When it comes to sharing a book with young kids, reading aloud seems the natural thing to do. They can’t read the words on the page, so you do it for them. Once young readers become independent, though, we sometimes forget that they still enjoy – and can also benefit from – listening to you read.

That said, picking the right book can get tricky. The 9-year-old doesn’t want to hear “baby” books, and the preschooler isn’t ready for some of the subjects nor can they sit still that long! Finding books that interest your 4-year-old AND your preteen may be easier than it sounds.

bozeman public libraryDon’t give up on picture books. As Pam points out in her post Reading Aloud: Picture Books Rule! (MotherReader, March 2009) sometimes those pre-teen protests are a surface reaction. After the requisite “that’s for babies” teens will still sit and listen to a picture book. They may even surprise themselves with how much they enjoy their little brother’s reactions. The secret bonus: you are modeling reading for them so they can read to their brother later!

Chapter books need pictures, too. Illustrated chapter books are helpful because young audiences often need the images which engage their interest while you read pages with a lot more text. In general, the chapters in these books are short, making it easy to read in small spurts and over consecutive nights.

Mix up the formats. Sometimes you have enough time – and the kids’ temperaments are in sync – to read something that each child likes, and you can share a picture book and a chapter or two from a longer story. On those days when your energy is low, just pick one. That quiet time reading will probably help you feel better!

Regularly sharing a book as a family will not only let you reconnect and renew a love of stories and books. Who knows, as everyone becomes readers, maybe everyone will want a turn!

Next week: Genres that are good choices for family read-alouds. [Link to Books to Pick for Mixed Age Read Alouds]

Image credit
Toes and a book: Public photo on Copyright All rights reserved by Tina Cockburn Photography, tcockburn2002.

Picture Books in the library: Bozeman Public Library by JSemenza on Flicker. Copyright All rights reserved.

PBS Parents, the sponsor for booklights, has authorized the reprint of this post on Scrub-a-Dub-Tub. The post is still available at the original link address, as well. All rights reserved.

3 responses to “Wednesday Blurb: Reading Aloud, Sharing Books and Being Thankful

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