I have heard of parents reading to their unborn child and many believe that it has a positive effect on the developing child. I believe that you should begin reading to your children as early and as often as possible. The difference reading to children early may make is not difficult to measure if you counted the moments, they appeared to pay attention or have peace. Reading to infants or toddlers may be some of your best use of their awake time, save feeding and changing.
But let’s skip ahead a little to the point the children are walking, talking, and beginning to really interact with you when you’re reading to them. Now they are not just intaking the words and pictures, they are pointing, interjecting, and responding with awe and surprise. Now their comprehension of what they are seeing, hearing, and feeling may be observed and tested. They may now verbally identify a bear or a broom or pull back from pictures of spiders or bugs. They may also participate in turning the pages or refusing to turn from a page that appeals to them. Many of these responses may be anticipated and easily accommodated by parents. Inevitably there comes the times when you are reading to children that they begin to ask questions. You can not only anticipate questions, but you can also count on it. Children are naturally curious and long before they can follow the storyline, they yearn to know the who what when’s and especially the why’s of what is being read to them. And not only do children asked the questions, but they also expect answers from their parents.
Should parents be ready to answer questions after reading to their children? When children ask questions, they are expressing a need or desire to know. Questions also indicate that children have readiness to learn. Both the need to know and the readiness to learn are very important indicators. The need to know may be seen as wanting the basics or wanting to establish a foundation from the answer. The readiness to learn may be that if they acquire the basics then they are ready to build upon the concept. When parents can provide answers to the question children ask related to a story the children are enriched and gratified. They are also filled with confidence that their parents are there to help when they do not know the answers to other questions. Children’s knowledge and skills may be greatly impacted by parents ready with answers to their questions, not to mention the love and trust that may be established.
But as parents, we are not always ready with the answers to the questions from curious children’s minds. No not the ones that they are not ready to talk about yet, but the legit ones where they are building knowledge and concepts. Parents don’t have to know everything and have all the answers to all the questions. But maybe they should, given that they did choose the books or stories. Here the books themselves may bare some of the burden for preparing parent to explain their characters and content to children. Books provide all the components of a story, so why not provide the vocabulary, define the terms, and make the background information available to parents? If parents are supposed to anticipate children’s questions, then why shouldn’t authors and publishers do the same and produce more complete children’s books. Books that entertain, educate, inspire, and are a learning and resource tool for both the children and their parents. If parents are to be ready with answers, then the books that they choose should offer them real help. When children’s questions are answered they learn, and they are then equipped to build upon that which was learned. Children may also come to understand that their question led to more knowledge and discovery and that their parents played very important roles. Written by Mister Wilson-Cory The Caterpillar Children’s Books…