With Father's Day coming up, we wanted to get a dad's perspective on reading with little ones. So, we asked Ben from the popular blog Mutterings of a Fool to be our guest blogger. Here he shares his experience of reading with his children and passes on some tips on how to make that experience as great as possible.
Reading a bedtime story has always been my domain, my 15 minutes of quality time with my daughter and I love it. As a working parent those few minutes are so valuable not only to help me bond with her but also for her development. I love watching her as we read a book for the 2nd/3rd/4th time and you can see new things click into place. She starts to learn the story, spot the mouse on each page or make the noises of the animals in the book.
Now she has reached the stage (aged two) that she can tell me what is happening on each page, the general gist of the story of course not word for word. She’s not THAT clever. Best of all she now absolutely loves books, we already have a good collection going and if you sit down for more than 5 seconds you can guarantee she will hand you a book to read to her.
However I won’t lie to you, reading The Jolly Postman for the 20th night in a row (no exaggeration) does get a little wearing. Even I’m fed up with the letter from The Three Little Pigs by that stage. But I recently read some research on this topic that suggests reading the same book over and over again means that children learn more words than reading lots of different books. The researchers believe that a child learns something new each time they read the book. The first time they may pick up just the story, the second time some of the emotions and so on.
Maybe it is worth persevering after all?
However to make your life easier I find it useful to steer the book choice towards an author or authors you like reading. If you enjoy the books then this will come through in your voice and make the repetition bearable. In our house it’s a close call between Shirley Hughes and Janet and Allan Ahlberg for the most popular. A little bit retro I know but I love the fact that the books are about the story and not just a TV character and Matilda is currently completely obsessed with anything involving Alfie.
Choosing books you like is a good start but as a dad you also need to embrace your inner child. You know the one that likes crawling around on the floor after your baby or playing hide and seek or (and my speciality) blowing raspberries on any exposed bit of flesh. I can’t be the only dad that takes great pleasure in embracing this inner child in putting on voices when reading? I do a mean angry cat impression and my sleepy bear impression is second to none.
So there you have it; pick a favourite author, read the same book repeatedly and do silly voices. You heard it here first.
Thanks Ben for a great post and a very happy Father's Day to you and all the other dads out there!
Win Win Win! As a Father's Day treat, we've got three sets of these five wonderful Peppa Pig books to give away.
If you would like to win a copy of Daddy Pig's Fun Run, My Grandpa, On the Move!, Oink Oink! and Peppa Goes Swimming, just leave a comment below, letting us know which book you are asked to read over and over (and over) again! We'll then select three winners at random*! Good luck!
* Leave your comment by midnight 21st June 2013. Winners will be selected and notified by 26th June 2013. Terms and Conditions can be found here.