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Do you read to your kids?

Old 02-24-05, 07:08 AM
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Do you read to your kids?

So y'know how in the movies the idealistic parents (often times the father) would read to his children at bedtime? My question is do you do it? I've read and seen PSA's proclaiming the benefits of such a practice and when I get my own set of little bastards I plan on reading to them. As dumb as it may sound I've started to practice reading aloud now (as I'm really shit at it) when I read to myself.

As an aside I'm also curious if you read to them from picture books (something can be finished in 10-15 mins) or from proper novels (Alice In Wonderland) that would take a while to finish - just doing something like chapters at a time? I would imagine their age would help dictate this.

When I do have kids I want for them to be readers and I understand that this is the best way to make that happen.
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Old 02-24-05, 08:39 AM
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I use to read to the neighbor kid. And dump a girl after she told me she never read a book in her life. My first thought was what the hell are you going to read to your kids. Then I not going to be with someone that isn't read to my kids. I don't actually have any kids just think of future.

Harry Potter is on my list but to start off I think I'm going with the golden books type books. Lots of pictures and some kind of moral message.
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Old 02-24-05, 09:00 AM
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For 'little' kids, ie, babies, it's said you should read virtually anything out loud to them [obviously, watch the content]; newspapers, magazines, adult and kids books, etc. You get used to reading aloud, they get used to hearing you read, and they start to become interested in what you're doing.
As they get older and are a little more able to pay attention, make it more interactive. We have bunches of childrens books, and we would pick ones 'we' wanted to read, and read them repeatedly. But now my son [just over 2] will pick his own books and we'll read them together. Or he'll just sit there and flip through the book, 'reading' it himself. I read a book when I eat lunch, and he climbed up on the chair, grabbed my book [a paperback scifi novel], and started flipping through it and saying "I'm reading!" so that's a good sign. At this stage it's good be to repetitive with the books you read, then they link the words you're saying to the pictures, and eventually to the actual words on the page. We read some things repeatedly, and some new things, depending on his level of interest.
We have tried the actual 'books', including coincidentally enough, Alice in Wonderland, but he's not ready for that yet. Probably the 'biggest' book we'll do right now is an illustrated story book, that still has pictures but does have lots of words. So far we're mostly doing picture books--Dr Seuss, a couple potty books, and whatever else he grabs off the shelf to read.
We do read to him, I know we don't do it as much as we 'should', but we try to read to him every day.

Last edited by tonyc3742; 07-12-06 at 10:08 PM.
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Old 02-24-05, 10:58 AM
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That's good baby advice, dtcarson.

I read Homer's THE ODYSSEY to my first infant, just to read something to her for about a half hour every day. Today, we read voraciously, every day. She's four, and she's a sharp kid. I can't precisely judge what effect all those words have had on her, but I believe she's more well-spoken and into language than her classmates.

I'm reading HUCKLEBERRY FINN to my 7-month old now.

Reading is a HUGE part of these kids' upbringing. And we have no TV in the house except for our basement theater, which plays only DVDs.
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Old 02-24-05, 11:24 AM
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I learned to read when I was four as well. In part because my folks read to me, but also in part because, as teachers and avid readers, I was literally surrounded by books, so I could explore them on my own as well. And with your kids, you're showing them that books/reading is an active part of life, not anything special/out of the ordinary, but something 'expected', which will definitely help and drive interest in the future.

You mention TV, I think the prevalence of TV [and computers] have a lot to do with lots of kids lack of interest. TV is much more an integral/inherent part of their lives than books are for a lot of these kids. Lots of families have tv in the living room, den, kitchen, dining room, bedrooms, office, etc, so it's 'right there', but books are relegated to an attic, basement, or some other out of the way place. Out of sight, out of mind.
We have a bookshelf of his books in the living room, one in his bedroom, and some of his books just lying around in each of our other rooms, so he can pretty much always 'reach out' and grab a book. If it's hard or inconvenient for them [or you] to read, they won't do it as often. We also leave the TV off unless we're actually watching it [one of my pet peeves is having a TV on for background noise], and while he does watch TV, I limit it a great deal, and we monitor it and choose what he can watch, and try to watch with him. I also like to have the captions/subtitles on so he gets exposed to reading even like that : ) although that certainly is not a substitute for a big ol' book on your lap.
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Old 02-24-05, 11:54 AM
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I don't have kids, but I've read quite a bit about reading to kids. (Now that sounds like a pretty self-referencial sentence...) Anyway, one thing that's usually suggested is that parents read aloud a book that's slightly more difficult than what the kid could read by himself. It's easier for them to understand when it's being read aloud (especially since they can ask a question, Dad can explain, etc.) and it's a bit of a "hook" to get the kid reading more complex material later on. (Not that you always have to do that, but it opens up a wider field of things to read.) And yes, it's a great idea to read longer books in chapters.
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Old 02-24-05, 12:23 PM
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Originally Posted by dtcarson
I also like to have the captions/subtitles on so he gets exposed to reading even like that. : )
What an interesting idea!
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Old 02-24-05, 02:33 PM
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One thing I'd like to throw into this discussion is the reading of foreign language books (that is, if you know how to read a foreign language). My sister has read many a Spanish book to her children. Mostly she reads them picture books, and most of those are more along the lines of learning to count in Spanish, learnign words for animals and object, etc. While these certainly aren't fluent in Spanish, I think it's cool to point to a picture and ask my nephew what it is in both English and Spanish.


On a completely different topic, I'd like to know what you parents out there think about letting your kids read comic books. When I was a youngster, my teachers always said reading magazines and comics "didn't count" or worse, they'd say it wasn't allowed or acceptable. Do you agree with that? Sure, I think reading "real" books is important, but isn't any kind of reading acceptable?
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Old 02-24-05, 04:09 PM
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Originally Posted by James W. Powell
On a completely different topic, I'd like to know what you parents out there think about letting your kids read comic books. When I was a youngster, my teachers always said reading magazines and comics "didn't count" or worse, they'd say it wasn't allowed or acceptable. Do you agree with that? Sure, I think reading "real" books is important, but isn't any kind of reading acceptable?
I'll speak for my moms on this. She always though as long as I was reading something it was good. I didn't really like to read novels when I was younger so she suggested I try reading a Batman comic (something I was interested in already) and bam!, she had a reader on her hands. After I read a few tpbs I started to pick up those Jr. novels and then other books. Worked great for me.

The one bad thing about comics is that they don't really let the imagination play like prose does. You have the text and the picture right there to go with it. Not a whole lot to imagine.

Last edited by boredsilly; 02-24-05 at 04:11 PM.
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Old 02-26-05, 06:11 PM
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I read to all 4 of my kids when they were young. I read at naptime and bedtime. We started with picture books and worked our way up. This was part of the settling down routine and it taught them that I thought reading was important. My oldest was reading when he was 4, my youngest shocked us all and read to us at 3 1/2. The two middle ones read at 5. I read all the time; anything and everything. My older daughter only reads magazines and her books for school now (she's a freshman in college) but doesn't have time for a lot else. My 21 year old doesn't read much right now; he's too busy working. He does write fantastic poetry though. My 3rd child likes J.D. Salinger right now. My youngest loves comics, and I have no problem with him reading them. He is 12 and in 6th grade in a gifted program which piles on a lot of work. He does read other things too. He loved all the Harry Potter books. When he was in 3rd grade, he was in a class that did a program called Reading Renaissance. The kids were tested and had to read books at a certain level (at the high end of their tested level) and then they had to take quizzes on the books. They would be retested regularly and their reading levels increased. I thought there was too much pressure on them. They were only allowed to read certain things. If it was below the level set for them, they couldn't read it! That's ridiculous. I don't see how that encourages kids. I feel that kids should read anything they're interested in as long as it's appropriate material. I do believe my kids have better vocabularies from reading and being read to. I don't see how reading to your kids could ever hurt. I have a friend who doesn't read to her kids because she says by the time she puts them to bed, she can't stand them. I think that's sad! I know I got tired of reading the same book over and over (because that's what kids love) but I didn't mind doing it. OP, I think reading out loud is great practice for later. The teachers in grade school had the kids read out loud to their parents for practice too. It's totally different than reading to yourself.
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Old 02-27-05, 01:30 AM
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I read to my kids. My son reads by himself most of the time now that he is older (he is 10) and has happily developed a love for it. He even goes a few times a month and reads to kids in Kinder. I read to my daughter now and hope she will find a similar interest in it when she grows up.

I honestly don't like to push my kids about their hobbies or leisure activities. Whatever they do as long as it isn't harmful or in moderation if its something like Video Games or TV is fine with me. My son has never developed an interest in sports though I tried to encourage him when he was younger so I just leave it be. The one exception though is reading. I feel this is the single most positive type of hobby a person can have. I read 1-2 hours a day not to mention listen to audio books at work when I can. When I was growing up I had a pretty tough time of it and reading was one of the things I think helped me through it, expanded my mind and honestly made me a better more well rounded person. I tried Sports, religion and even drugs when I was a teenager but nothing could center me and get me back on track like a few hours at the library reading.

I will do everything possible to encourage and reward my kids for reading.
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Old 02-27-05, 11:17 PM
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I have a seven month old girl and thought I would read to her more than I do, but I still read to her probably 5 times a week, and my wife does probably double that. Mostly Suess type books, Little Engine that Could, etc. We already have plenty of books for her, I just need to get off my ass and double that number myself.
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Old 03-01-05, 04:24 PM
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Reading is definitely important for children. My parents both read to me....my mom from standards like Dr. Seuss, my dad from books he liked as a child and growing up (Robin Hood, the ghost stories of MR James, H.P. Lovecraft, Hardy Boys, Oz books, etc...). This parental attention coupled with the likes of Sesame St. helped solidify my interest in the written word.

Alas, my attention span over the years has become pretty shabby so it takes a lot of concentration to read much of anything

I blame it all on those little shiny discs!

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Old 03-01-05, 04:48 PM
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Originally Posted by boredsilly
So y'know how in the movies the idealistic parents (often times the father) would read to his children at bedtime? My question is do you do it?
Yes, it's part of the getting-ready-for-bed ritual for my son

Sometimes we read short stories, sometimes we read a chapter or 2-3 (depending on how long the chapters are) from longer book. We've gone through the first few couple of Harry Potter books... along with numerous Pokemon books

Now that he's a big 6-year-old, *he* reads to *us* (and/or his 8-month-old baby sister) sometimes
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Old 03-01-05, 05:11 PM
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My wife and I made a habit of reading to our kids every night at bedtime (they are 4 and 5). There are a few exceptions, like if they've been up too late or you can tell if they're too tired to foucs, but most of the time we pick one to two books a night (Disney short stories, Blues Clues, you name it). I was an avid reader in high school but I'm so busy with other things now that I have a family it gets difficult. I did, however, begin taking my kids to our local library to begin checking out books instead. For what these things cost, you can easily go bankrupt. This way, they can appreicate the process of picking out something they want to read, borrow it, and also learn the responsibility of taking the book back so somebody else can have a turn. So far, they love it. Nice departure from a trip to the bookstore or the toy store. You don't have to say "No" all the time .
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Old 03-01-05, 05:44 PM
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My dad read the entire Lord of the Rings series to me when I was around 6--one of my fondest memories from my childhood. Another concept that was surprising to me when my mom told me, was that I played the original Zelda on the NES and eventually was able to pick up some reading skills from that game (however limited it was).

I definitely plan on reading to my children in the future; trying to get in the habit of reading out loud as I tend to trip over my words. I just started volunteering at the local Head Start program and the kids love a good story; it's sad to think that the few hours I have with them may be the most quality time they recieve with another adult in a given day. The suggestion about leaving the subtitles on was interesting, I had never thought of that-
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Old 03-03-05, 06:55 PM
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my 21 month old will get right up in my face and say "BOOK" if I don't respond to I her request to be read to fast enough. She has better language skills than 90% of her peers and is an amazing child my wife or I read her a minimum of 5-10 books a day and that is a low estimate.
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Old 03-06-05, 07:42 PM
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Originally Posted by eisenreich
My dad read the entire Lord of the Rings series to me when I was around 6--one of my fondest memories from my childhood. Another concept that was surprising to me when my mom told me, was that I played the original Zelda on the NES and eventually was able to pick up some reading skills from that game (however limited it was).
Very cool idea with LOTR -- my son Robbie turned 6 in December and is a pretty good little reader, his interest in books seems to have just taken off recently, so maybe I will try this with him

We noticed the same Zelda-ish thing happen with Robbie, Animal Crossing was one of the 'culprits'
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Old 03-06-05, 10:13 PM
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What helps you decide WHICH children's books to read?

As a writer of children's books, this is of great interest to me.

Thanks.
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Old 03-11-05, 05:30 PM
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Cool, thread, I also wanna know what helps you guys/gals decide what to read to your young ones. I have a little nephew who is about to turn 4, I know he reads in school, but I want to know what kind of stuff I can read to him at night.
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Old 03-13-05, 05:41 PM
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I really like the idea of reading the LOTR books to kids too! But that is a bit of a monster, hel I haven't gotten around to reading them myself yet. Maybe my future kids better be happy being read the Narnia stories instead .
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Old 03-16-05, 03:31 PM
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My wife goes to the library once a week or so with the kids and they pick out lots of books. We generally watch Popeye at 7 pm and then read for 15-30 minutes from 7:30 to 8 and then it is bed time.

It's a blast.

Being a teacher, she generally reads stuff all the time for her 2nd grade class and gets ideas there. Hank The Cowdog is great. Animals are great. The favorite books always seem to have animals in them.
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Old 03-19-05, 09:20 PM
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I read to my nephew and niece. They're little and like my voices.
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Old 03-21-05, 07:32 PM
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I think reading to kids is a wonderful idea, my mother did it with me and it really helped with my love of books and English skills.

On the bad side, though, I have a 3 1/2 year old son, who will by 4 this May, who I don't read to. Why? Because he will grab the book, start playing with it, twiddling, and bouncing off the couch. Just no interest. When he was a baby, the same thing, God knows I tried. A friend and I were having this discussion 2 weeks back, and she has the same problem with her daughter, who is now 5 as of this month.

So it's not like some parents don't try to read to their kids, lol, it's that sometimes it's just impossible.
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