Reading is one of the most important activities you can do with your child. It helps them learn to read well, develops their vocabulary, and gives them a richer understanding of the world around them. But it’s also a great way to bond with your child. It’s well worth arranging your schedule (and your child’s schedule) to prioritize making time to read together.
Research shows that children who are read to every day are better readers at school, have an increased vocabulary, and enjoy language more. Parents can read to their children throughout the day, but it’s especially fun to share stories at bedtime.
Here are some suggestions for getting the most out of story time:
- Start with easy books (but choose carefully!) Try to choose books that are fun and interesting for you both but that won’t be too difficult for your child to follow or comprehend. You might also try browsing age-appropriate lists for “best-seller” books. These titles are often popular with kids and easy to find at your local library or bookstore.
- Making time to read together is more fun if you use your child’s interests to guide your book selection. Pay attention to what your child likes to read or do for fun. If they’re into dinosaurs, for example, you might look for books about prehistoric animals.
- Choose books that appeal to different learning styles. Some kids love to read about adventures and heroes, while others like stories about family and friendship. Make sure you include both types of books in your collection so there’s something to please everyone.
- It’s often helpful to talk about the story with your child before you read it. Let your child ask questions and talk about what they think about it. This will also help develop their critical thinking skills and help them understand what’s going on in the story.
- Focus on the characters and events in the story. When you read with your child, try not to get too distracted by your own life and activities. Instead, focus on the book and describe what’s happening in the story as you go. You might talk to your child about the character, where they are, what they’re doing, and why they do it. This will help you create a bridge between the story world and the real world that your child is familiar with. And they’ll be more likely to pick up language and vocabulary from the story as they listen.
- As you’re reading, ask your child questions about the story. “What’s that? What’s that noise? Can you say that word? What happened next? What happened before? How did you feel?” These questions help your child develop language skills and understand the story and the characters.
Storytime can be an important part of helping children develop a love of reading and learning from a young age. Some early education experts say that one of the best ways to help a child develop a love of reading is to read to them often. That’s why it’s important to choose books for them that will help them to develop an interest in reading and an appreciation for literature.
One great resource for parents is Scholastic’s “Top 100 Picture Books” list. This list is a great place to start if you’re looking for ideas for great books for young kids. And it can help you learn more about the kind of books and stories that your child will enjoy most as you are making time to read together.
Parents looking to learn more about how to make the most of reading time may want to check out the award-winning paid app called BabySparks (originally titled “BabySparks: 5 Steps to Help Your Baby Develop Language & Literacy Skills). It was developed by Dr. Teresa Lesiuk of McMaster University and endorsed by the Society of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics and the American Academy of Pediatrics. The BabySparks app provides development activities parents can do with their child that helps parents support a child’s development in areas such as gross and fine motor skills, cognition, language, sensory, etc.
Picture Books by Don M. Winn that Are Great for Making Time to Read Together
There’s a Monkey In My Backpack!
Anna has a problem! There’s a monkey who goes everywhere with her—even to school! He never leaves Anna alone. He makes so much trouble for her that she wonders if she will ever finish the third grade, but she learns that her monkey can give her some surprising help if she lets it. This book is designed for parents and educators to use to help kids understand both the difficulties and the benefits that accompany dyslexia and other learning difficulties. Watch the video here.
Space Cop Zack, Protector of the Galaxy
Space Cop Zack, GARG’s Secret Mission
Space Cop Zack, The Lost Treasure of Zandor
Zack and his robot sidekick GARG have the best, most imaginative adventures in space! Watch the video here.
The Tortoise and the Hairpiece by Don M. Winn
A lonely little turtle is convinced that the reason he has trouble making friends is because he is bald—all the other animals have hair! He decides the way to fit in is to wear a fancy feathered wig! Does it solve his problem, or make him more of an outcast than ever before? Watch the video here.
The Higgledy-Piggledy Pigeon by Don M. Winn
An ambitious young pigeon begins flight school only to discover that he has a learning challenge and can’t keep up with the other students. He’s so disappointed he’s ready to give up. Will he? Watch the video here.
Superhero by Don M. Winn
A boy imagines he’s a superhero who solves all sorts of problems for his town, until he confronts two scary villains he’s never met before. Superhero is overwhelmed! Who does he call for help? Who is Superhero’s hero? Watch the video here.
Shelby the Cat by Don M. Winn
Shelby the cat lives a peaceful life of friendship with all kinds of animals, including mice, dogs, and bugs! But a gang of mean alley cats are angry that Shelby makes them look bad, so they try to bully Shelby into being like them. Will Shelby give in or be true to himself? Watch the video here.
Chipper the Clown and Chipper and the Unicycle — Chipper dreams of being a clown. He makes his dream come true, but learns the importance of perseverance and asking for help. Watch the Chipper the Clown video here and watch the Chipper and the Unicycle video here.
The Watch Cat — A cat bravely protects his house, even though all the neighbors laugh. Can he prove his worth? Watch the video here.
The Incredible Martin O’Shea — Martin daydreams in school! His grades are falling and his parents are worried. Will he learn to pay attention? Can he have his dreams and his education too? Watch the video here.
Twitch the Squirrel and the Forbidden Bridge — Twitch is not allowed to cross a dangerous old rope bridge, but there is a giant tree full of acorns on the other side. Does Twitch know better than his parents? Watch the video here.
Chapter Books by Don M. Winn that Are Great for Reading Aloud
Book 1: The Knighting of Sir Kaye — Kaye is unexpectedly knighted at twelve. Now he has to compete in a surprise tournament against the other knights. Can he win back his honor? Will he even survive? Watch the video here.
Book 2: The Lost Castle Treasure — Kaye must find a missing treasure or lose his knighthood forever. Can he beat the knight Melchor at his own game? Watch the video here.
Book 3: Legend of the Forest Beast — Kaye must stop a rogue knight from sending a mysterious shipment into Eldridge before the entire country—and his beloved father—is engulfed in war. Watch the video here.
Book 4: The Eldridge Conspiracy — Kaye must enter Eldridge to search for the only man who can save his father’s—and the king’s—life. The only problem? That man refuses to help Kaye because his family is in danger. What will Kaye do? Watch the video here.
A Friends of Sir Kaye ebook only: Mystery of the White Knight — Who is the White Knight? He ruins fields so nothing can grow, burns down entire villages, and terrifies the people of Knox. People say it’s the new queen’s fault. They want to take her throne away and give it to someone else. Can her nephew Beau save the throne for the queen and solve the mystery of the White Knight?
This is a short, easy-to-read chapter book featuring characters from the award-winning Sir Kaye the Boy Knight series in their own standalone adventures.
Thank you for reading about making time to read together. For a thorough discussion of dyslexia, you may enjoy the second edition of my award-winning book Raising a Child with Dyslexia: What Every Parent Needs to Know, available in softcover, hardcover, eBook, and audio. In addition to facts on testing and accommodation, my book gives you the tools to provide the social and emotional support children with dyslexia require.
And to learn more about how every student best learns to read, you may also enjoy Failing Students or Failing Schools? A Parent’s Guide to Reading Instruction and Intervention, by reading specialist and shortlisted World Literacy Award nominee Faith Borkowsky.
Cardboard Box Adventures picture books are great for shared reading and can help parents establish a strong preliteracy foundation for their children. Check out the CBA Catalog for a full list of award-winning picture books, chapter books, and resources for parents and educators. Visit my Amazon author page for more information.
- Top 10 Benefits of Reading with Your Kids https://readingwithyourkids.com/top-10-benefits-of-reading-with-your-kids/
- Narrative Skills: What Are They & How Do They Develop? https://babysparks.com/2019/02/20/narrative-skills-what-are-they-how-do-they-develop/
- The Importance of Picture Books http://resourcebinderecse.weebly.com/uploads/2/0/1/3/20133951/naeyc_importance_of_picture_books.pdf
- The benefits of developing reading skills from a young age https://www.kumon.co.uk/blog/the-benefits-of-developing-reading-skills-from-a-young-age/
- Information about Babysparks https://babysparks.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/360042433313-What-is-BabySparks-