"Right after lunch Josiah, Kara, and I picked out our stories for story time. We snuggled on the couch with Mommy and read them. I was so happy ‘coz it was my day, and I got to pick two stories today. I picked Curious George and a book about astronauts. Story time is my favorite time of the day.”
Read Aloud Tips (continued)
6. Consider having an ongoing chapter book as part of your story time. At the end of story time, I almost always read a chapter or two out of a chapter book. By that time, the youngest listeners were often drifting off to sleep, so if they were not interested in the chapter book, they just started their naps. However, the older preschooler and elementary child was still alert and awake. (We call this the “bus stop approach” to teaching little kids—stay with us and we’ll introduce that concept more fully in the future.) If your little is “almost ready” for chapter books, but not quite, you can start the process by choosing some longer picture books (i.e. instead of “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie,” or “Curious George,” read “Kidderminster Tales” or picture books of “Black Beauty” or James Herriot stories for children (reviews forthcoming). Then after he is used to listening to longer picture books, choose short chapter books at first, such as “Three Cousins Detective,” “Boxcar Children,” or “American Girl Books.” These often have forty to eighty pages, so they are good introductions to chapter books for preschoolers. (Some of these shorter chapter books also have an occasional picture; this might help bridge the gap from picture books to chapter books.)
7. Use book and cd sets from the library to substitute for you when needed. My older kids used book and tape sets (Joshua’s favorites when he was three to six were these old “Stories That Live” Bible story books with accompanying cassettes.) However, Josiah and Jacob (our last two children) have used picture book and cd sets more than any of the others. With several children and the older kids’ needs and activities, story time has taken a drastic change in our home. I no longer stay home all the time; I no longer have one to two hours every afternoon to read; and, unfortunately, I no longer get to take naps! To offset my reduced story time, I have utilized book and cd sets for the younger children. Since we homeschool and our children have daily independent lists, the boys had “listen to book and cd set” on their list most days when they were younger (and Jakie still often does, though he is quickly outgrowing them). These sets are available in zip style bags at libraries and are really a great help for busy moms—if your children get in the habit of doing them. Like every other “quiet” or “less high-tech” activity, listening to book and cd sets, talking books, radio dramas, etc. is a learned art. It will probably not come naturally to children today. But, just like brushing his teeth and making his bed, it can become part of his daily routine if it is insisted upon by Mom and followed through on. (Book and cd sets and/or audio books are especially good for kids who are outgrowing naps to do while youngers sleep.)
8. Make story time a privilege. As with the toddler joining your story time, this special event should be a privilege for every child—and privileges are earned and are much different than rights (which should be greatly reduced in the lives of children—yes, our children have rights to safety, nourishment, love, etc. but the sense of entitlement that we give our children for everything causes a very me-focused approach to life that is inconsistent with genuine Christianity, which is the opposite of this “myopic” way of life). Our kids knew the rules for story time, and I seldom had problems with bad behavior during it. Why? Simply because they wanted Mom to read to them! The repercussion for not sitting still, not being kind to those around you, being loud, complaining, etc. during story time was no story time that day, period. As my husband has always reminded me: “Our children will behave just the way we want them to” (i.e. the way we allow them to)—annoying saying huh? But true.
9. Try to have a consistent story time. If you can have a set time, like right after lunch every afternoon you are home or right before bed three evenings a week, etc., it will make it more routine and will cause the children to look forward to it. Consistent story time (or consistent anything) causes children to have order and peace—and provides a small framework of accountability for Mom too.
10. Use story time for Bible and/or character training. In addition to an ongoing chapter book, I always had a Bible story book and/or a character book that we read through a little each story time. This gave me another opportunity to teach Bible stories and character lessons. (Reviews will follow for some suggestions for these over the next few days.)
Reviews, suggestions, and links coming up! Thanks for joining us.
*For the complete story of “Jonathan’s Journal, follow this link: http://positiveparenting3-6-5.blogspot.com/2010/03/day-seventy-eight-introducing-jonathans.ht