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Silly Stories, Family Fun

by Dr. Heather Wittenberg | October 3, 2011 | Child Development

“A NINK in da SINK? Too silly, mommy!”

Sasha is our youngest. She’s nearly 2, and we’re discovering that she loves Dr. Seuss.  Her current fave is There’s a Wocket in My Pocket! For some reason, that kooky Nink makes her shriek with laughter.  She has the tiny, toddler-sized version of the book, so she can easily carry it around to show whoever might be willing to read to her about that zany Nink.

I think we’ve read about the wocket in my pocket, the neps on the steps, and the zower in the shower –oh, say, about 14 million times.  And I’ll happily read it to her another few million, because of this fantastic fact: She loves that book. And anything that helps her to love books is worth reading a million, billion, or even trillion times.

Because the love of reading starts at home with fun family experiences.  It shouldn’t be a chore, or even a lesson — but rather, something fun to do together. We have wonderful memories of all our kids’ early reading experiences:  Our youngest son insisted that Grandpa read him My Truck is Stuck! every night before bed for a month, and our oldest son couldn’t get enough of Richard Scarry’s Best Word Book Ever. A snuggle in the comfy chair with Goodnight Moon was our oldest daughter’s goodnight routine.  And now, the older kids take turns reading with Sasha, too. To her, there’s nothing cooler than reading with her 8-year-old brother or 10-year-old sister.

And although we can’t snuggle in the comfy chair with our older kids any more (*sniff*), we do enjoy taking turns reading their Harry Potter books out loud.  It makes this sweet time with Sasha more poignant, knowing that soon she’ll be like her big sister and brothers – too big to share the comfy chair.  So I’ll happily read about that silly old Nink tonight, knowing Sasha’s well on her way to a lifetime of reading fun.

Child development research tells us that strong, positive, emotional experiences help kids to form stronger memories through deeper learning.  Here are some ways to boost your kids’ learning, and have fun doing it:

  • Involve the whole family. Siblings reading together is a priceless photo op – and a powerful way to reinforce literacy.
  • Embrace repetition. Re-reading the same book means your child loves it – and feels a sense of comfort, seeing that it always ends the same way.
  • Create fun reading projects. Cut up old magazines. Search for the color, letter, animal, or activity of your child’s choosing. Glue, decorate, and label. (And don’t forget a special one for Grandma!)
  • Read anything – and everything. Follow your child’s – and your own — interests. Your enthusiasm will be infectious.