Sometimes mothers voice concerns that their children don't seem to care for some of their school books. These moms relate how they have tried to read the book aloud in hopes that it will help create interest, but to no avail. There are many factors that can contribute to this dilemma, but recently, while visiting a friend's home, I was reminded of one of them in particular. Fortunately, it can easily be remedied.
I happened to be visiting a dear mother's home and chanced to hear her read aloud to her children. I noticed right away that she was reading very quickly and using a monotone voice. I seriously doubt her children could keep up with her words. It was evident that they had no interest in a classic tale that should have held them spellbound.
A few weeks later, I was reading aloud to my dear son and out of the corner of my eye noticed he began to fidget and let his attention wander around the room. "Oh dear! I am losing his attention," I thought. It dawned upon me that I was speaking way too fast for my little listener and using that boring voice that I promised myself I would never use on my own kids! Usually, I'm a pretty exciting reader. However, this time, because I was behind schedule, I just wanted to finish the day's reading. I remembered the other mother's mistake and began to think on this a little more.
When I was a little girl, my father read aloud to us regularly. He was always an interesting reader. He naturally passed this on to all of his children. I have several siblings. We all homeschool our children and we all tend to read slowly and with feeling. I've taken this little gift he passed on for granted, but now I am beginning to wonder if some teachers and parents might not realize how important it is to use this skill when reading aloud to the children.
I thought I might mention this today to others because sometimes we fall into a habit that we, ourselves, don't even notice. However, when someone else brings it up, a light bulb comes on inside our heads. Here are a few ideas that may be just what you need to grab waning attentions while reading aloud:
Always remind each other briefly where you left off from the previous reading.
Slow down. Make sure you are not reading too quickly.
Become your characters as you read their lines. This doesn't mean you have to use your body. Modulate your voice to reflect emotions. When your characters shout, raise your voice. When they cry, put on your crying voice. Whine at the appropriate time. etc... Sometimes you may not be in a frame of mind to alter your voice as much as other times, but it is always helpful to do it to some degree.
When you want to create mystery or come to a part you want to emphasize, lower your voice and lean forward. Kids love this and it often will be the deciding factor between a favorite book and a boring book for them.
Lastly, if you find that you are reading a book that you, yourself are not enjoying, Don't tell your kids, not even with your body language- no sighs. Your attitude will most certainly rub off on your children and then all is lost. I have learned to be positive about all our schoolbooks. There have been times when I haven't been thrilled about a book, but I didn't let on and kept reading with emotion. Some of these books have turned out to be among my children's favorite stories.
one step at a time...
artist: Dentist McDonald