Ready to read

Each week in June, I am writing a post about reading aloud to the kids in your life. This week’s post is a combo of Reach Out And Read reading tips (in bold) and my personal time-tested comments

  • Make reading part of every day. Read at bedtime or on the bus.
    • Keep books in your diaper bag, purse or car – they are great stress relievers for parents and kids when the wait is longer than expected. Make sure these books are extra special!
  • Have fun. Children who love books learn to read. Books can be part of special time with your child.
    • Remember it is as much about the experience as it is the words – keep it light not a lesson.
  • A few minutes is okay. Young children can only sit for a few minutes for a story, but as they grow, they will sit longer.
    • Work up to 15-20 minutes a day – you’ll be surprised how fast kids adapt to the reading habit. If you can spend 30 minutes all the better, but it’s more important to be spending the time than watching the clock.
  • Talk about the pictures. You do not have to read the book to tell a story.
    • Great time to talk about colors, shapes, big and little, tall and short, etc.
  • Let your child turn the pages. Babies need board books and help to turn pages, but your 3-year-old can do it alone.
    • You are building confidence, along with an interest in stories and reading.
  • Show your child the cover page. Explain what the story is about.
    • Telling them who wrote the book is a great way to inspire the writing habit, let them know they can write books, too!
  • Show your child the words. Run your finger along the words as you read them.
    • New research shows this is key to helping children connect the concept of reading to letters and words on the page.
  • Choose books that your child can relate to. Select books that relate to what is happening in your child’s world – starting preschool, going to the dentist, getting a new pet, or moving to a new home.
    • Let your child pick out books at the library or the bookstore. Make selecting a book on your child’s birthday a BIG deal. Spark their interest ahead of time, “What type of book do you think you would like to buy for your birthday this year?” Visit the bookstore and a stop for a treat with just the birthday boy or girl.  Put a colorful book-plate or help them write in their name, age, etc. in their birthday book. Come-up with a special entry such as: “Child’s name picked-out this book all by him/herself for his/her  _____ birthday on _________. We read it for the first time on ___________. We give it an ____ rating!”
  • Make the story come alive. Create voices for the story characters and use your body to tell the story.
    • Use this time with your child to fully connect with your child and to help them develop and use their imagination. Create competition for the video games and TV shows waiting to capture their attention.
  • Ask questions about the story. What do think will happen next? What is this?
    • Be as interactive as possible, but if your child keeps asking you to keep reading, then skip the funny stuff – they are already hooked!

For age specific Reach Out and Read reading tips, click here. For their age specific book suggestions, click here.

Reach Out and Read


I’ve dedicated each Friday in June to sharing summer reading adventures for you and the children you care about. I know it is a little different topic for Wishful Thinking Works, but reading to kids can change their lives and can be a rewarding part of creating the life you want! Spending time reading to a child cuddled in your lap is a great bonding experience, sure-fire happiness inducer, and can be a great stress reducer, too.

Today’s reading updates are from the Reach Out and Read web site. Reach Out and Read is a fantastic not-for-profit organization involving pediatricians, who prescribe reading aloud to parents during their children’s 6-month to 5-year well-visits. The program and its partners provide free books for children to help them develop healthy reading habits. I was lucky enough to partner with Reach Out and Read as one of my public relations projects. I have seen firsthand the joy and excitement reading brings to even the youngest children, and teachers across the country attest to its positive impact on school readiness.
Here is why reading to young children is so important:
  • Children who live in print-rich environments and who are read to during the first years of life are much more likely to learn to read on schedule.
  • Reading aloud to young children is not only one of the best activities to stimulate language and cognitive skills; it also builds motivation, curiosity, and memory.
  • Early language skills, the foundation for reading ability and school readiness, are based primarily on language exposure – resulting from parents and other adults talking to young children.
  • Research shows that the more words parents use when speaking to an 8-month-old infant, the greater the size of their child’s vocabulary at age 3. The landmark Hart-Risley study on language development documented that children from low-income families hear as many as 30 million fewer words than their more affluent peers before the age of 4.
  • Books contain many words that children are unlikely to encounter frequently in spoken language. Children’s books actually contain 50% more rare words than primetime television or even college students conversations.
  • The nurturing and one-on-one attention from parents during reading aloud encourages children to form a positive association with books and reading later in life.”

As you head out on your summer vacation or look forward to spending long and lazy days around the house, make books and reading part of the fun! Summer is a great time to share books about farms and gardens and how things grow, about turtle and frogs and other slimy things to know!  Quacking ducks and mooing cows are a huge hit with the under 5 crowd and don’t forget, board books are made for viewing and chewing!

Summer Reading

Did you know . . . “Fewer than half (48%) of young children in the U.S. are read to daily, meaning that more than 13 million children under 5 go to bed every night without a bedtime story.”

Did you know that reading aloud to a child can change his or her life?

Each Friday in June, I will be posting read-aloud tips, facts and fun for you and your kids, grandkids, friends and neighbors’ kids or nieces and nephews. Summer is the perfect time to begin the read-aloud habit, and it’s a great way to keep school-age kids interested and involved over the summer break.

Reading aloud is a personal passion of mine and was a professional project for me for about 10 years. We read to our sons, each and every night and presenting read-aloud workshops and promotions was one of my favorite PR projects – EVER!

It’s free, it’s fun and it can change lives.  Read all about it, right here at Wishful Thinking Works, each Friday in June. Share the posts with your family and friends. My wish for the summer is to help you make reading aloud part of the life you, and the kids you care about, really want.

Can you guess which states have the highest % of children read to daily? (They are all part of one region.)

What’s your child’s favorite book? (Include your child’s age, so others can use your recommendation.)

Did you have a favorite kids book, if so, what is it?

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