Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Bring Out The Diva In You: Making Stories Come To Life

I have the biggest stage fright ever. I spent excruciating minutes trying to say the word “through.” in front of a class. In college. I was reading an essay and my mouth kept saying “thooo.”  Over-sharing here is part of my strategy to recover from this over-a-decade-old embarrassment.

I wish my classmates could see me now, though, because when it comes to reading aloud to my children, my inner diva comes out. I throw away my inhibitions and fully immerse myself in the different roles that story time requires: actress, director, musician, artist, etc.

For this second part of the Reading Series that I started over at The Mommy Journey, I am going to share with you the ways I bring stories to life for my kids. Somehow, my playful self does not stumble on silly words like “through.” :)

Basic Reading Aloud Tips

These are the things I always do when I read to my kids, whether it’s a board book or a chapter book.

  1. Read slowly and clearly – This is the most basic rule of all when it comes to reading to children. When you read in a hurry – poof! – you would immediately lose your most important audience.

  1. Pronounce words to depict meaning – Children can derive the meaning of a word just by the way that you read it. When you encounter the word high, use a sing-song voice, for low, use a deep, growly voice, for silent, use a quiet voice. Easy peasy!

  1. Wear a costume – Reading about a witch? Put on a witch’s hat and watch magic happen! Our costume box is also full of ribbons, gowns, and discarded clothing that are just perfect for getting into the mood of a story.

  1. Assign voices to characters – Children love silly voices. It will immediately capture their imagination when you use a unique voice for each character in the book that you are reading. This is so great especially for long chapter books like Winnie-the-Pooh. I myself can get lost trying to read long passages. Trying to remember that Piglet says Chwistophew Wobin and that Eeyore t-a-a-alks v-e-e-e-e-ery sl-o-o-o-owly keeps me on my toes!

  1. Read as if the book were a script – If you’ve read a book at least five times, chances are your child would have memorized some parts already. Let her say her lines! When your child is reading already, no matter how slowly, you can take turns reading. This is good reading practice that makes your child more involved too. When she gets tired or gives up, carry on. You don’t have to do this for the whole length of a book.

  1. Act out some scenes – Look for action words that you and your child can do. When a character tiptoes, ask your child, can you tiptoe like him?  Or, oh! he leaned over the window, can we do that too? One of the most memorable things that we did was to pretend to be an acrobat when we read The Runaway Bunny. A year or so after doing it, my daughter still finds it fascinating to “balance” on a tile line and pretend that she’s an acrobat.

How do you read to your children? 

Watch out for the third part of this series over at The Mommy Journey. I will be sharing about the chapter books we are currently enjoying. 

Make magic!

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hinajak said...

great reading tips! I also enjoy reading with my kids especially when they were younger. I'm happy that they love books too.ramadan messages. both my kids have separate bookshelves at home

Mariel @ The Learning Basket said...

Did you sing it to the tune of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star? :) I just recently discovered that actually haha :D

jhomi12 said...

how she appreciated "Brown Bear, Brown Bear" all over again when we sang
it.  :)  When she knows a book well enough, I try to take her video
"reading" it.  She loves it

Anne @ GreenEggs&Moms said...

It's always nice to bring books to life. Now that my son can read already, I have to be a wee bit more clever on how to make the story jump out of the book. :)

Mariel @ The Learning Basket said...

Hi! I think all moms are guilty of reading fast at one point or another. It helps to think  though that the moment together will be more memorable if we just take a deep breath and forget all the things we need to do (just for a teeny tiny bit!) and just be present for our children :)

Cym Marzan said...

This is wonderful! I want to try the costume idea! I love that changing my voice when reading a story captivates my kids. I read the Love You Forever Book and made up a melody for the song the mom in the book always sings, and my eldest and I cried! Thanks for sharing! 

April F. Manuel said...

Nice reading tips! I'll surely try these tips tomorrow! Thank you so much!

Dorothy said...

Great tips! I'm guilty of reading fast especially when I'm busy with my work :( Anyway I'll try to do the ideas and I'm sure my daughter will enjoy it. :)

Mariel @ The Learning Basket said...

have fun!

Mariel @ The Learning Basket said...

I'm sure she will be if you keep it up! :)

Mariel @ The Learning Basket said...

Love "divalicious moments!"

Gigi Ramos Mesina said...

this what i need to so my little boy would be encourage to love books

Czaroma Roman said...

great reading tips! I also enjoy reading with my kids especially when they were younger. I'm happy that they love books too... both my kids have separate bookshelves at home.  

Glaiza Tominio said...

Reading is really a fun bonding moment for my and my baby! I hope I raise up a bookworm in her. :)

Zendie said...

My toddlers are delighted when I change voices during read-aloud time... Can't wait for other diva-licious moments! :))

christine batiller said...

can't wait to do these tips tonight when i read a book to my son!

Mariel @ The Learning Basket said...

Love the sound effects Sanne! And I really loved that Brown Bear, Brown Bear sang like the alphabet song!

Mariel @ The Learning Basket said...

haha yes chris :D

Chris said...

it is amazing how we change when it comes to our children no? :) 

sanne said...

I remember how Little Energizer Bunny's eyes lit up in our first reading of "Caps for Sale" when I acted out the monkeys' "Tzz!!! Tzzz tzzz tzz!" And how she appreciated "Brown Bear, Brown Bear" all over again when we sang it.  :)  When she knows a book well enough, I try to take her video "reading" it.  She loves it!

Teresa said...

Reading is one of my favorite bonding activities with my kids.  Reading your post was a good reminder for me. I tend to read fast at times when my kids ask me to read a book over and over within the same hour! haha Like yesterday, my 14 month old baby asked me to read The Lord's Prayer over and over. I lost count! He just kept on giving the book to me after I return it to the shelf. I think we read it at least 8 times in one sitting. :)  I also shared some storytelling tips in my blog here: http://mommytg.blogspot.com/2012/07/8-tips-on-how-to-become-better.html