He bounces out of bed like a pogo stick, dashes outside to jump on the trampoline, eats breakfast while hanging upside down from the bar stool asking a minimum of 523 questions, and then—just when you think he’s worn out—he races back to his room to get his dinosaur so he can show you just how loud he can roar. And it’s only 6:30 a.m.
Did I just describe your kid? If so, you’ve probably thought, “I’d love to use a literature-based curriculum, but my child would never be able to sit and listen during the read alouds.”
After all, you’ve already sat down with him several times and tried picture books. How will he ever be able to listen to chapter books? You might be surprised. You can read aloud without squashing the life out of your lively child.
A few tweaks to your read aloud time will set your lively child on the right path for developing a love for read aloud time.
1. Keep Their Hands Busy
This is one of my top tips because my kids love to draw and create. Read aloud time is their favorite time to practice their craft. Handiwork keeps hands busy while minds can stay focused. Sewing, crafting, crochet, and building with blocks are all great options.
2. Engage Them in Discussion
Kids will listen much more intently if they know that we genuinely value their opinion on a topic. Look for opportunities to pause your reading and discuss themes and ideas raised in the book. Your Sonlight Instructor’s Guides provide an excellent jumping board of discussion starters for each read aloud.
3. Create an Atmosphere
In the winter, gather in the living room. Pile up on the couch with blankets and light a few candles. Maybe offer your children a special read aloud tea or hot chocolate. In the summertime, grab a quilt and some lemonade and take your read aloud outside. Cultivate an atmosphere that connects reading aloud to warm, family memories.
4. Break it Up
Few people can sit still for two hours, listening to a parade of books. So spread it out. Take care of your longest Read-Aloud in the morning when attention spans are longest and then sprinkle in the rest through the day. Snack times, lunch time, and bedtime provide a captive audience when kids are more prone to listen.
5. Increase Reading Time Gradually
Your first read aloud session won’t be perfect, so don’t set yourself up for failure by expecting it to be. Plan for a short session the first time and increase it gradually as the weeks go by. By the end of the year, you’ll be surprised by how long they can listen to great books.
You probably just glanced out the window to find that your sweet, active child is hanging from a tree limb outside, right? Don’t sweat it mama. Good books fuel imagination and play for lively children every day. Sometimes it just takes a little training and some outside-of-the-box thinking to coax your energetic boys and girls into the land of literature.