When Should We Start Reading to Our Kids?
Some would say we should start reading to our babies as soon as they’re born, but I think we should start even before that. A study was done at the University of North Carolina in which 33 pregnant women were given a passage from a children’s story to read to their unborn babies. They were asked to read it three times a day for the last six weeks of pregnancy. Fifty-two hours postpartum, the babies were each given a nipple to suck as they listened through headphones to a woman’s voice (not their mom) reading three different passages. The researchers measured the babies’ sucking rates and found that the babies showed a preference for the passages that their moms had read during pregnancy.
When Should We Stop Reading to Our Kids?
Remember the recommendation from the U.S. Department of Education Commission on Reading that we talked about yesterday? If you didn’t get a chance to read it click here. They said reading aloud to children “should continue throughout the grades.”
Reading to my teens has been one of the most bonding and rewarding times for us. It’s a time for deep diving when we talk about what makes people tick and what we hold as the core values that drive our decisions.
Tom Sawyer’s brilliant (albeit mischievous) ploy to manipulate his peers into paying him for the “opportunity” to whitewash his aunt’s fence sparked a great discussion with my kids. We talked about Tom’s genius and his ability to manipulate people and situations and how he had a choice to use those gifts for good or for bad. We talked about how Tom Sawyer could have been a great entrepreneur, and we contemplated what causes a person to choose well or not choose well.
When we read The Giver, we talked about the pros and cons of socialism and how this conversation is extremely relevant to changes in our own society. We talked about aspects of their society that we admired and aspects that seemed oppressive.
In the teen years, when so many things are competing for our kids’ attention, reading aloud can offer intimate moments with them that we might not otherwise find.
Check back on Friday. We are going to offer suggested reading titles for kids of all ages. In the meantime, leave a comment below telling us some of your favorite read aloud selections.