An article contributed for Calvary Community Care (C3) ‘Read With Me’ Literacy Campaign
When the children were preschoolers, I incorporated reading aloud or hearing stories read aloud as part of the children’s bedtime regime which assisted with ‘bedtime challenges’.
Routines and schedules always help with a child’s emotional development because when the routine kicks in, the child living in an ‘adult world’ knows what to anticipate in the whirlwind world of adult life.
Admittedly, I never liked reading a story book to my own children more than once – parents will know a child will ask you to read a book again and again because for some reason the content resonates with them and they want to continue learning about themselves and about the world from the book.
So I substituted in other ways.
During that time, we had a domestic helper who was good with children and would read the whole book in my place. My children liked her and looked forward to her reading with them.
Or I put on an audio compact disc every night to ‘read’ a book aloud to them (when there was a chime, the child would turn the pages and henceforth follow the rest of the story) This way of ‘hearing’ stories read aloud was very useful when the adults were tired after a whole day’s work but still wanted to incorporate ‘reading’ into a bedtime regime (‘routines’ are never compromised and spared everyone ‘sleeping battles’)
Further, it unfailingly meant the children were never compromised of ‘one-to-one’ time with the parents. My husband could participate in this easily. He just had to sit with the children when they were younger (when they still could not read)or lie close to them. I think hearing the stories being ‘read’ out loud repeatedly night after night also enabled him to learn them off by heart 😂. He also better knew the likes and dislikes of each child as they would ask him questions about the story.
I must admit the downside is sometimes the caregiver ends up sleeping first before the child *guffaw*
Nonetheless, this is still a ‘win-win’ situation because the child has a happy memory of associating story books with comforting bedtimes. Children ‘feel’ things more than anything else. They appreciate the efforts.
I do think words and literacy is better intrinsically motivated. Therefore, reading or hearing stories read aloud offers companionship, one-to-one attention, undivided attention on the individual and creates happy and healthy memories towards reading and building of literacy skills.