“Mom, a stegosaurus weighs 4 hundred, 4 thousand 8 million pounds,” says my son.
Me: “Okayyyy…now go back to bed.”
My daughter (sorta mumbling): “I knew about the crocodile, but that’s it.”
Now although it may sound like my children are talking in their sleep or doing every thing possible to avoid sleep (which may be), actually, their seemingly random sentences make sense.
I don’t remember why or how it started, my guess it was from a trip to the library, but many nights both of my children fall asleep listening to a book. No, I don’t mean that my voice is so soothing that it sends them both off into Dreamland. (I really wish it was, that’s a fantasy of mine, but it has yet to happen.) I mean that when we go to the library, one of the things that they check out is a book and CD of their choice.
Now you would think this would take me off the hook right? One less book for me to read each night? Nope, nada. This what they listen to after they listen to me and/or their father read to them.
Although it may seem like an outdated practice with the CDs and all, there are actually a lot of advantages to them listening to books, and here are five that work for us.
1– Its an easy way to do repeated readings. They listen to the story on repeat for a set amount of time, like 30 mins, so they get to hear a story multiple times (without me having to read it myself over and over. #momwin), which also helps expose them to what good expression sounds like. So when they do read, they hopefully adopt those same expression skills.
2– It is a way to expose them to higher vocabulary and more difficult text. My 5 year old son is able to follow along with the books, even though he can’t necessarily read them himself. It has improved his listening comprehension skills.
3– As my daughter started reading chapter books, she started listening to them as well. So she was no longer following along with text, but just listening to the story. She started listening to longer chapter books long before she was actually reading them.
4– Works on those listening skills. If your kids are anything like mine, that’s always a skill they need to work on. They have to follow along in the text, as well as listen for the often faint “ding” that tells them to turn the page. Additionally, if they get distracted, they miss part of the story, so they tend to be more focused.
5– Its a wonderful way to allow them to hear books that they are interested in, that you may not want to read yourself. The quotes from the beginning of this post were from when my kids were listening to the following books:
Both interesting titles, but neither were really screaming bedtime read aloud to me, so I am grateful that they got them to listen to. And obviously, they were learning something from the books as well.
So, in your quest to raise readers, if you haven’t already, I would strongly suggest exposing your kids to some audiobooks. Whether its on CD, through something like Audible, or even through some other form of technology, its yet another way to help your child develop a love of books. If your children already listen to books, let me know if you have any title suggestions in the comments below, we’re always looking for new books!