Monday, January 3, 2011

Story time

UPDATE:  I always talk to my grandkids about stories and ask them what they want a story about.  They have sometimes "quirky" ideas, but I work with it as much as I can.  My grandson once suggested I write a story about "a man who didn't have a name"...well, that was a challenge, but we did it, and we even did a play about it.  Other kids have asked me to write about things like "peacocks", "a BLOB pet" and I even had one adult ask me to write a story about Amazon animals and she suggested the pink dolphin, which I did and she loves it (she is from Brazil).  My grandkids enjoy reading the other stories too, not just the ones they  suggested or are in.  I have a special book for each of them, but now it's just about whatever we want to write about and I hope they will cherish them forever, but I know that I enjoyed writing them and that's all that matters to me.


One of the highlights of a visit with my grandchildren is seeing the look of excitement on their faces when I read stories to them. Of course, since my granddaughter now knows how to read a few words, she would rather "read the book herself", but her younger brother isn't quite so patient as to sit and listen to her try and sound out the words and I don't want him to lose interest in reading, so sometimes I will read him a book and she will sit beside us and "read" her own story. A few times though, she has surprised me by yelling out, "Don't turn the page yet Grannie...I want to see what's happening", so although she's not always reading with us, she's definitely listening ha ha

If possible, set aside some quiet time for reading stories and make sure everyone has an age-appropriate book to enjoy. You can help to make storytime fun by being as animated and creative as possible. If everyone is not enjoying the story, or you see they are distracted, stop reading and just talk about the pictures or ask them to look for letters in their name or words that they know. Don't force storytime - it has to be fun if they are going to want to keep reading. Just come back to it another time, or maybe try another book. I find that it is also fun to ask questions while reading, ie, how they might react in the same situation as the storybook character or what they think about what's happening in the story or even what they think will happen next. Maybe you can even teach them a song that goes with the storybook or the characters in the story.

You could also try making up your own stories and asking them to help you draw the characters and write their very own story. Try to keep in mind, the interest of everyone who is listening to the story though, ie, maybe your grandson likes dragons and your granddaughter likes princesses. Use your imagination. It doesn't have to be a long story and it doesn't have to be perfect.

As your grandchildren get older, you may just be encouraging them to "read to you or by themselves" and that's okay too.

Whether you are reading to them or they are reading to you, reading is important but should also be fun, and we can do our part to help parents and teachers instill the love of reading in children.

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