Yesterday was parent/teacher conference day. And Mrs. SuperTeacher tells me all the nice things mommies want to hear. “He’s so awesome. I love him. He LOVES to learn. He’s starting to read….” Then she stops.
“You read to him, right?”
I nod, and answer, “Of course I do.” (I do. I’ve been reading to him since I was pregnant. I would read aloud Variety magazine as I sat in my rocking chair. When he was a newborn, I would switch between Variety and Rolling Stone and read aloud to him on my lap.)
But then she asked me, “And you have a nanny?”
“And does she read to him?
And again, I can answer yes. (The last nanny I had couldn’t read. She was a great nanny but couldn’t read or really write. I didn’t figure that out until way after she had been with us. So when it came time to hire my current nanny, first we made sure she COULD READ, then, we told her that on the nights she puts the baby to bed- 2x/wk pretty much since DH and I put him down the other nights- she has to read to him. Worked out fine so far.)
So I’m feeling some pretty good parenting confidence vibes and then Mrs. SuperTeacher throws me for a loop:
“And it’s very important that when you’re reading to him you are asking him about the book, the characters, not just “reading” it. Engaging him in the book. Are you doing that?”
I deflated a little at that point. I knew EXACTLY what she was talking about. I know about the “Read 20 minutes to your child every night” thing. AND I had known I was SUPPOSED to engage him just like she was telling me. AND I USED to do that…It’s just that nighttime rituals have gotten so…oh I don’t know, it’s like it’s ‘Bath, Dinner, Bed, Reading, LIGHTS OUT! Finally! He’s asleep! I can clean the kitchen! I can go on Pinterest!’
I never skip a page in a book, or a sentence on a page (it’s so tempting sometimes) BUT, I try to get through those three books as fast as I can. (He gets to pick 3 books, it was easier to read three when he was younger and the books were those board books with like one word on each page…it’s time to adjust to two.)
Mrs.SuperTeacher probably told me five more times in our conversation how important it was that I am asking questions when we read. “Ask ‘Why was the doggie barking?’ ‘What color was the boy’s shirt?’ ‘Why did the boy (with the green shirt) go buy the milk?’ she says. But then, she also explained that come kindergarten testing, that’s how the tests ask the kids about the stories. “So by the time they get to the age where they are taking the test, they are used to being asked questions about the stories. It won’t phase them.”
Well, that makes sense. Perfect sense. Thank you Mrs. SuperTeacher.
I did a google search on “read 20 minutes to your child” and found this guide on reading, from Kindercare.com. Check it out: A Guide to Reading with Your Child