More Than One Way to Share a Book

Category: Parents

Some days you can read a book with a child and they want to sit for hours. They’re captivated, hanging on to your every word. They chat about the pictures, turn the pages, ask questions and ask for more. Both parent and child come away feeling great.

And then there are those days where the world is a bit topsy-turvy. Despite your best efforts, you can’t seem to get a child to settle for a book. They fidget, they turn the pages sporadically and they chat about the strangest things that are not related to the book.  It’s just not a book sharing day.  Or is it?

Here are some book sharing tips to engage both adult and child.

1. You pick one, I pick one

A child will be more engaged in the book sharing session if they’ve helped to pick the book.  Take turns picking the book with your child. Ask them to tell you what they liked about the book. When it is your turn to choose, tell your child why you chose the book.

2. Introduce your child to new books

Before you read a new book, get your child excited. Have a look at the pictures. Talk about what the story could be about. Tell your child what you love.

3. Turn off the TV and the radio

Limit distractions. Turning off the TV and the radio will mean that you’re not competing with other noises.  

4. Visit your local library

Local libraries are a great place to explore new books.  Ask the librarian if there are any new suggestions. Take your time, allow your children to look through the books and find something that interests them.

5. Different books for different times of day

Think about the time of day you’re reading the book. You might want to read an active book with actions during the day. It’s a great activity to engage children and use up some extra energy. Choose books that let the child run around actively. Bed time books should be quieter and soothing.

Reading together is about building relationships but also helping children to develop listening skills. So if it is a day when the child is more active, choose a book that will engage them. It might be best to try a book with actions – a book that isn’t read sitting down but instead gets the child out of their seat. If a child won’t settle with a book, make up a story. Use items from around your house and engage your child in making up a story with you.

Keep the interaction around the book positive.  It’s important to persevere and but if it’s not working it’s okay to take a break. Try another book. Try another activity and return to the book later. 

Reading books together should be a fun experience for parent and child. Sometimes it will fall into place naturally, and sometimes it might take a bit more perseverance.  Think creatively about how you share a story with your child. There is no right or wrong way – as long as you both enjoy it.