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Children's Books: How to keep your child engaged while reading

Did you know that didactic reading is more effective in teaching a child than just simply reading while the child remains quiet?

What the heck is didactic reading???

It's an engaging style of reading in which the parent and child ask questions about what is going on in the picture and discuss what the story is really saying. It's interactive and sometimes even child-led. It's the WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, HOW type of questions. Many studies reveal that a child's comprehension is boosted with this style of reading. For those of you with toddlers, you may already be doing this. Those little guys have a keen way of making the book reading experience all about what they want to get out of it... am I right?

The other night I was trying to read my son a story, when he literally took the book out of my hands, turned it upside down and said "meow" as he pointed to the picture of a cat. As I turned it back around and began to read again, he yanked it out of my hands, flipped back to the previous page and pointed to the cat again... This trend repeated itself throughout the next 5 pages.

You can imagine my frustration as it was bedtime, we were both exhausted, and all I wanted was peace, quiet, and maybe a glass of wine with a piece of chocolate! Okay, maybe a box of chocolate. LOL! Having an "A" type personality, these situations are where my son and I tend to butt heads. I'ts easy for me to focus on the task at hand and forget about what the overall goal really is. In that moment I had a choice. I could have taken the book back (taken the control away), put it away and said "bedtime", or I could have let go and let him take the lead. I chose to let go... even though that chocolate was calling my name. It turned out to be the BEST quality time I had spent with him all day and we ended up reading for another 20 minutes. That's a long time for a toddler!!! We laughed, we played, we hugged, we made cat noises... we actually finished the book. It was a blast!

Someone I admire said this to me last week about her own child: "This is her journey". SO TRUE! We may think our children will learn more by the amount of books we read, or what type of books we buy them. It's true that thought should be given to both. But what it's really all about is the QUALITY TIME we are spending with them. When we let go and let them take the lead on their reading experience, we allow them to truly focus on what they see and hear. They absorb so much more this way. It allows us to slow down, talk about the story, talk about the ways it relates to their world. It creates an opportunity to make connections and strengthen brain pathways.

So the next time you sit down to read a book to your little one, take time, ask them questions, talk through it, ENJOY IT! It's actually very relaxing once you embrace it!

What are some funny things your little one likes to do while you read to them? Comment and let us know!

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