Some of the things books have taught us…
1. Attention span
I have a three-year-old, five-year-old and a six-and-a-half year-old. Their ability to sit and listen to books is not the same but reading books has grown their ability to sit quietly and listen. Reading during breakfast and lunch gives them extra motivation to stay at the table and eat. It helps give them focus when they are distracted and aimless.
2. Facts about specific subjects
There are so many great STEM picture books for kids that give them facts in a story telling style and introduce them to weather, animals, history and physics using correct terminology. fit We don’t always read picture books sometimes we read Wikipedia pages and let them ask questions about what they are interested in. When we are able to explore their interests it gives them an appetite to learn and to listen and to discover and eventually to read for themselves!
3. Vocab words
I don’t simplify the words I read the big ones and then pause to ask them what they mean. They often can tell me because they are learning the words in context. I frequently hear all three of my kids using words that surprise other adults (ie: calamity) and have to explain that they learned it in a book.
Books take place all over the world and introduce us to animals that don’t live in our backyard, new traditions or locations my kids hadn’t heard of. We go look on the map to see where these places are or where these animals live. Books inspire new conversations and questions that allow our children to explore the world.
5. Languages (French and Spanish)
I was never gifted in foreign language but want my children to hear and know other languages. Books help us both! We love the Fancy Nancy books for introducing French words. High Five magazine has a story article each month that includes Spanish sentences and gives the pronunciation. These books and articles use simple words that we can easily use throughout our day.
6. Family quiet time
We are high energy, loud and active during most moments of the day which wears this mama out! Similar to all kids of various ages they all want to do something different with me at the exact time during the day. Unless, I pull out a stack of books, then everyone is “on the same page” (bad joke?!). As nap times slowly fades from our reality and bed times are a little later we still need a rhythm of rest to our days and I still need some quiet. Reading books together has become a family activity we can all enjoy together. We also use audio books when we need quiet time in separate rooms.
We read at the typical times of the day, before rest time/naps and before bed. But we also are reading during breakfast, lunch and many times in between. For us it is how we get through sick days, snow days, rainy days, sunny afternoons when we are tired from playing outside all morning, long days, airplane rides, grocery store trips, road trips…see? BOOKS!!!!