Children have active imaginations that can be nurtured and unleashed by the simple process of reading a book to them. When reading a book to children you are not only entertaining them but you are teaching them as well. They learn new sounds and ways to form sounds. They learn it from the sound of your voice and from watching your mouth move as you talk. When you read a book to children, you are also bonding with them in ways that are unique to reading a book with them. They have your complete attention and you have their attention. There is an added feeling of intimacy because the child will usually want to sit on your lap and interact directly with you. There are things that can be done to ensure that both you and the child/children get the most out of your time of reading a book together
Use Your Imagination
When reading a book to children, let yourself get immersed into the world of the book and the world of the child. Think of how a child would react to what is going on in the book and react accordingly. Play pretend and encourage the child/children to play pretend with you. Make up different voices for the different characters in the book you are reading to children. Use props from around the room that would interact with the story well and encourage the children to play with the props.
Interact with the Pictures
When reading a book to children, look and interact with the pictures that are in the book. Point out the different shapes that are in the book. Children’s books are great tools for teaching your children about shapes. All children’s books with pictures, whether they are about shapes or not, are loaded with different shapes that can be pointed out. As you or the child point out a shape help them to point out other similar shapes that are in the room that you are reading in. Point out the different colors that are in the book. The same is true about colors in children’s books. There are always different colors that can be pointed out. The same game can be played with colors as with shapes, point out objects in the room that are the same color as what was found in the book. Point out the different emotions that are in the book. Children books can also be great tools for teaching social awareness and interaction. Look for the different emotions that the characters in the pictures are showing and point them out to the children. Show the children how to make the facial expressions and encourage them to make the expressions as well.
When reading a book to children, try to be enthusiastic in the way you approach the whole process. If you are enthusiastic, the child will probably be enthusiastic as well. Try to use voice inflections and as was mentioned earlier, give the characters different voices. Get the children to interact with the book and to repeat words or phrases after you.
This is probably the most important tip. Just have fun when reading a book to children. Choose a book that looks fun. Read the book in a place that you can have fun. Have fun yourself and encourage the children to have fun. Reading a book to children should be educational, entertaining and exciting, but most of all it should be fun. The more fun the children have reading books now the more they will want to read when they are older.