When my babies were very small,
I would read and tell them stories using my “storyteller” voice.
I would put as much animation and excitement into my voice as possible, knowing that they were listening to every word. (This happens less and less after they reach the age of 6 or 7, so take advantage of it while you can!)
And if you make reading fun, if storytelling is a wonderful time full of adventure for them, you just gave your child a treasure box full of gifts.
You gave them:
- learning and reasoning skills,
- love of reading for a lifetime,
- your time and attention that they crave,
- a pattern for them to follow with THEIR children someday,
- and so much more! And the thing is–YOU can tell stories even if you have limited reading ability. When you ask your child something in an excited tone of voice–and wait for their answer–you show them that they are important, that their voice and their words matter to you. Conversation is an art, and you have to practice. So many children are growing up without knowing how to carry on a basic conversation. They speak in yes and no, like surveys. And as a parent, you can turn that around for your children.
Volunteer to read in your child’s (or grandchild’s) class, or to teach someone to read. Give the gift of reading to someone you know.