Monday, February 24, 2014

Communication and Childhood Literacy

Reading Together
Reading TO a child rather than WITH a child is about as productive as it is when people talk AT me as opposed to WITH me.

Picture it: A person at the podium or a teacher at the head of a class, the audience or children seated in front of them. We pretty much feel as though it is demanded that we listen. (Or at least pretend that we are!)

Picture this: a round-table discussion where everyone gets a turn at expressing themselves, each thought as important as another.

Now, imagine a group of kids sitting cross-legged in a reading circle on the floor, the teacher right there alongside them, and the kids all scrunched up as close to that teacher and book as they can be.

It is pretty obvious which groups shall enjoy the discussion in each scenario - and willingly come back for more!

I asked myself this question: Do you like it when people talk "at" you or would you rather they talk "with" you? To keep my own conversational skills in check, today I read a great article about communication. I equated the information for working relationships with that of my desire for children to read books.

If I want kids to read, I cannot just throw the book at them. I need to get in there with those kids and have us reading TOGETHER. This means permitting them to turn the page before I'm ready or to turn it back because they need to hear it again. It means allowing them to interject their exclamations of excitement or (heaven forbid) their dismay.

By paying attention to those in the reading circle I will learn as much about them as they will about the book. And what I do with this knowledge shall determine the outcome of my wish to encourage kids to read.

Take a book off the shelf and read with your children. Talk about the book with them. Sometimes these conversations are ever so much more valuable than the story itself at the moment.

If we do this, we can rest assured that more often than not a child will eventually read the book - and the child will eagerly return for another!

Image source: Reading Together: Everything You Need to Know to Raise a Child Who Loves to Read

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