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Reading to and With Your Grandchildren

By: Elizabeth Grace - Updated: 22 Aug 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Children's Books Library History

For many people there are few things more pleasurable than sitting down with a good book. Not only is reading an enjoyable pastime, but teaching children to read well will help ensure their success in school and in life. Grandparents can help their grandchildren develop a love for reading in a number of ways.

Start Young

Even newborns benefit from being read to. Babies enjoy being snuggled and feel comforted by familiar voices. One of the best ways to get kids to become good readers is to establish a routine time and place for reading. Kids enjoy having something to look forward to, so it can be really helpful for them to know that every time grandparents visit, there will be time for cuddling and reading. Also, grandparents who keep a small supply of books at their homes for their grandchildren to enjoy will help encourage the kids to associate reading with fun.

Selecting Books

Young children often prefer books with very simple stories and bright, colorful illustrations. Picture books that focus on the things that children love most -- people and animals make fine subject matter. In addition to colorful drawings, children are often drawn to stories that are told in rhyme, so books that have a songlike quality are sure to become favourites. As parents know and grandparents remember, children frequently develop a special connection with a few select books that they request over and over!

Making Reading Fun

Grandparents who have the ability to bring the stories to life are sure to become the children's favourite storytellers. Using silly voices for the characters can make the experience a lot more fun and facial expressions help to convey mood. Another good way to make reading fun is to encourage the children to interact with the stories. Young kids enjoy pointing out objects on the pages while older kids can make guesses as to what might happen in the upcoming pages or talk about the emotions that the characters experience.

Building a Library

While children will certainly have a few favourite books, it is important for grandparents to offer a variety of reading materials that changes as the children's interests grow and attention spans increase. Including some books that the children's parents enjoyed as children is a good idea, as is providing magazines and even comic books to give kids an assortment of desirable choices.

To minimize the expense, grandparents may want to become regular visitors to their local libraries. Grandparents may be surprised to find that in addition to traditional children's books, many kids will show an interest in books geared toward older readers. As long as the subject matter is appropriate, grandparents can help kids to read and comprehend material that may otherwise be a bit too complicated. Outings with the grandchildren to let them select a few books to read can be both fun and educational.

Growing with Books

Reading opens up the world to children, allowing them to "visit" faraway places and get ideas about other times, cultures, and people. Depending on the ages of their grandchildren, grandparents can help the kids to discover interests in history, geography, sports, photography, or a host of other topics. Without exception, reading material is available on most any subject imaginable.

The experience of sharing books with grandchildren evolves throughout the years, from reading to passive listeners to taking pleasure in hearing the grandchildren to read their favourite stories aloud. Encouraging toddlers and pre-schoolers to recite the books that they have memorized is a good first step toward true reading and as the children begin to actually read, taking turns reading a paragraph, page, or chapter can be a good way to share a love of reading.

Readers and Writers

As much fun as children have reading books, they usually like to write them even more. Grandparents can create homemade books with their grandchildren, alternating turns in adding a bit of the story until it is completed. For young children, grandparents can write down the words and ask the children to provide drawings to accompany the story. Older kids will be able use the computer to create their own books. A quick visit to an office supply store will provide the materials needed and many have the capability to laminate the pages once the book is complete, making it something that the grandchildren can keep for many years.

Lifelong Readers

By allowing their grandchildren to see them reading for pleasure, grandparents can encourage the habit of lifelong reading. Scanning the newspaper and clipping articles from favourite magazines are small actions that can pay off large dividends. It is important for children to understand that reading isn't something that is done only during the school years because it is required, but that it offers a way for people of all ages to learn and grow.

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