Reading a children's book should be easy.
The sentences are simple.
The stories are short.
There are illustrations to engage children.
And yet...many parents fail to make that connection with their child while they read.
Why? What is the point of reading with our children? To get through the book as quickly as we can? To check it off on a list of "Things I Did with My Child Today?"
We love Goodnight, Moon in our house. There is so much to talk about, especially with young toddlers who are still learning new words.
If you were to read the page above, you could say, "Goodnight, room," in your best reading voice, look at the pages together for a few seconds, and then turn to the next page....and you have missed out on so much!
Reading with our children is like having a conversation. You ask them about the things they see. You ask them about things that are difficult to find. Did you know that the picture hanging on the wall of the Bear's room is the same picture hanging above the fireplace? You introduce new words, like "poker" and "chimney."
Did you know that the mouse moves on each page of Goodnight, Moon? And that the moon is slowly rising? And the clock's time changes on each page? And the cats are playing with a ball of yarn before falling asleep? There are sooooo many things to talk about! And then, when you do finish the book, you can say "Goodnight" to every single thing that you see in your child's bedroom. "Goodnight, curtains....ceiling....doorknob....Daddy's elbow...." Anything that you can think of...any new words that you want to teach them, THIS is when you can do it!
Picking up a book is like giving yourselves a reason to cuddle together, focus on something, and then talk and share and ask and wonder and imagine.
Reading a book with our children is not the end goal. Reading a book is a journey we take together...a slow, meandering journey where the goal is to just enjoy talking together and sharing our thoughts until we inevitably reach the last page of the book.
Here is a nice video about reading with our children. It's only a couple of minutes long, but some might find it helpful.