How often and for how long do you read to your kids? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 41 Old 08-20-2012, 04:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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How often do you read to your kids and for how long at a time?

 

I had an interesting./depressing converation with a children's librarian today. By reading...I mean reading aloud and am not including books on tape or media enhanced books via ipad or other.

 

We read in the morning when we wake, sometimes with a snacky sort of thing and water. Usually for twenty minutes or so while the coffee brews. I then dash to the kitchen to make breakfast and pack lunches if it is a school day. I wft. The kids are read to on demand with whomever is with them during the day, usually me or are nanny. And I read at least thirty minutes often a full hour before they go to sleep. So I'd say at least an hour per day, often more.

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#2 of 41 Old 08-20-2012, 04:13 PM
 
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Everyday. At least one book at bedtime.

And anytime my son asks and I'm able or another person in the house is able.

And at least once everyday that he's in preschool (couple days per week).

When he was an infant I just read whatever I wanted aloud. Anything at all from the day we brought him home.

He's really very active so I prioritize physical activity. Reading can only be done when he's calm (usually around bed time). So even though it's everyday, it's not a ton of total time.

I also point out words throughout the day on signs, labels, etc and ask him about the letters or words he sees. He's only 2 and not reading yet but he understands that clusters of letters are words and so he sometimes claims he knows what something "says" simply by guessing from a picture.
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#3 of 41 Old 08-20-2012, 04:25 PM
 
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We do 2-4 books every night at bedtime, depending on how much time and energy we have. I'll also read a book or two during the day if requested, although DS is 4 now and will pick up a book  to "read" on his own now and then. Plus both kids are in preschool a few days a week and are read to there. IDK how much time this adds up to, probably close to an hour each day total, but it's every day, at least two books and usually much more.
 

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#4 of 41 Old 08-20-2012, 04:55 PM
 
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it used to be about 60-90 min. Lately though, more like 30-60 min per day. But that's me reading to DS. DD reads on her own now, at least an hour per day and sometimes reads to DS in addition to what I read to him.

I'm curious to know what the librarian said! If you don't mind me asking, did she recommend a certain amount of time for certain ages?

Single student mama to dd 5/04 and ds 11/07.

 

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#5 of 41 Old 08-20-2012, 05:04 PM
 
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We read at breakfast every morning.  We also read books throughout the day.  The kids also "read" by themselves (in other words play with books) for significant portions of the day.  I would say that at least an hour a day is spent with the kids interacting with books.  This is very spread out at our kids are so little that the most we read for at a time is 30 minutes. 
 


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#6 of 41 Old 08-21-2012, 07:36 AM
 
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You didn't ask the age of children which might be interesting to know. I'm sure a lot of people spend less time reading aloud to kids as the kids get older, read on their own, and put themselves to bed.

 

My dd is 12 years old. Dd doesn't do a bedtime story or really ask me to read to her like she did when she was younger. We homeschool and use a literature based curriculum though and I do read aloud to her from those books.

I read portions of several books to my dd 4-5 days per week. I don't watch the clock but I suppose 20 minutes to 1 1/2 hours on those days.


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#7 of 41 Old 08-21-2012, 08:39 AM
 
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Ds is recently 5 and we read everyday, at least an hour a day, but usually more.  On days he goes to co-op school he is read to there for maybe an hour or so as well throughout the day.  On days we are home all day, we usually read at breakfast and then throughout the day and read several books or chapters or chapters AND books at bedtime.

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#8 of 41 Old 08-21-2012, 12:39 PM
 
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I have a 3 year old and an almost 9 yo and we read 30 to 60 minutes at night (used to do a lot more when it was only older ds we were reading to, having a hard time finding a way to read to them at these ages, so dh and I each pick a boy to read to, but then it's rough bc we're all in the same room and sometimes it's hard to hear, ugh).  A few days a week, my little guy and I will sit down and read for an hour or so during the day while older is out or busy.  My older one, of course, also reads to himself some, but he's not one of those kids who loves to read.

 

I'm also very curious about what the librarian said.  

 

One thing I've been trying to do with my little one, which I didn't do with older and he's no worse for wear, lol, is to read at least one beginner reader type book with him each day and when I read that book (as opposed to a more complex story book), I make sure to point to the words as I read them and point out some of the letters and how some of the rhyming words look almost the same but with different first letters or whatever.  He can only identify a handful of written letters, but he had a few times asked me, when I'm not pointing to the words, where the words are that I'm reading.  So, I think he's paying some attention.  This is what I get for listening to NPR  --  heard a story a few months ago where they talked about some study that showed better reading outcomes for kids who had a parent/caregiver do the pointing thing.  


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#9 of 41 Old 08-21-2012, 06:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My kids are 3 and 5.

 

I usually go to a particularly good library near work for an adjacent city to where live. Their collection is superior and their staff is really really good. It seems to be the rare library these days that actual staffs the desk with the good children's librarians rather than librarians hiding in the back with useless aids at the front. (Full disclosure: I am a librarian in a specialized field totally unrelated to children's literature.)

 

So I was asking for various recommendations on a couple of specific topics for my 5 year old. I wanted some interesting uses of numbers or math or money, not for teaching a specific concept necessarily just to enjoy them and I excluded the three we had; I wanted a couple of "adventure stories" broadly defined and mentioned two that he really likes which are sophisticated and require discussion but are excellent; and I wanted some sort of book featuring handiwork or community-value sharing.

 

At the end of the discussion she blurted out that she was baffled by my requests because she and some of the librarians had come to the conclusion the other day that people simply weren't reading books to their kids anymore. Most of the material getting checked out from their seriously awesome collection was junk or media; people complained about the lack of licensed material daily; they rarely got involved parents asking for anything of merit that wasn't directly related to school work; and once kids could read for themselves at any level parents just... dropped...out. I get that she was venting a bit and actually apologized a few minutes later but it really gave me pause. If this is the best local collection with the best local staff what are the crummy libraries experiencing?

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#10 of 41 Old 08-21-2012, 07:09 PM
 
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I read so much to my son, I wouldn't be able to tell you how many hours.

We visited many different libraries, made use of the inter-library loan program, and spent so much time at our local bookstore that when my son was eight, he started making book recommendations to parents and teachers.

I read to him for a very long time, even though he could read at age four. We discussed what we read and what changed we'd make if we could. We even outlined our own 7th Harry Potter, since we didn't like the original much.

Now he spends much of his time writing, and even got me to help him.

I didn't plan to create a writer, but it seems I did. I just asked him if I should post a reply saying how much I read to him, and he said I should, because he now understands the impact of the written word, and that the pen *is* mightier than the sword.
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#11 of 41 Old 08-21-2012, 07:40 PM
 
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It's hard to quantify how much time I spend reading to DS (3yo) because it's erratic. Right now, with such nice weather, my priority is to get him outside as much as possible... which inevitably means reading to him outside, too, but we spend less time reading now overall than we did in the winter. Some days I only read him one or two short books. Other days we spend hours & hours reading. DH reads to him too, probably 20-60mins a day. If DS had his choice, he would spend his entire waking day being read to (I know because we've actually done that on more than one occasion). I actively limit how much I read to him, especially when we're in social settings, because I think maybe we read too much, but he really loves books... We go to the library at least once a week & read there for an hour or two, DS loves having his pick of all the books. We don't seek out certain books the way you're describing though, unless I have a special topic I feel like I need to explore with DS. Anyway, yes, I think it's sad that kids are not being read to, and we're on the other end of the spectrum and I think it's sad that DS doesn't run around and play the way other kids do (but he wouldn't do that even if I wasn't reading to him). I know some kids have short attention spans or prefer more active pursuits, and I assume the parents give up reading for a bit and just don't think to try again when the kids are a bit older and so they inadvertently give up reading.

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#12 of 41 Old 08-21-2012, 09:08 PM
 
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I read to him around an hour a day, sometimes more, very rarely less.   But we live with my parents and my mom will read him 2-4 books a day, and my dad will read him 1-2 books.   He also loves books on CD and will listen to those for maybe 30min a day, and then again after I read to him at night before bed.

 

 

We read chapter books before bed (currently "the borrowers"), and a combo during the day.   Also, in order to get read to, ds has to read 1 book to anyone he wants to read to (including the dog), he loves to be read to, so its great motivation for him to read to someone!  

 

 

He also spends lots and lots of time just looking at books, every time we are in the car and when we go to the gym playroom, or any time we are waiting for anything, plus some time on his own randomly when he sees an interesting book. 

 

We also go to the library 1-3 times a week. 

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#13 of 41 Old 08-22-2012, 09:26 AM
 
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Originally Posted by JudiAU View Post
At the end of the discussion she blurted out that she was baffled by my requests because she and some of the librarians had come to the conclusion the other day that people simply weren't reading books to their kids anymore. Most of the material getting checked out from their seriously awesome collection was junk or media; people complained about the lack of licensed material daily; they rarely got involved parents asking for anything of merit that wasn't directly related to school work; and once kids could read for themselves at any level parents just... dropped...out. I get that she was venting a bit and actually apologized a few minutes later but it really gave me pause. If this is the best local collection with the best local staff what are the crummy libraries experiencing?

 

Interesting how that awesome library is being used.

 

We don't go to the library much.  When we go I do rarely see parents in the children's book area with their school age kids. I don't think our local library is a crummy library but it is a small town library with a small staff. They do not host story time for kids over the age of 6 years so I wouldn't say they are actively promoting the idea of adults continuing to read aloud to older kids.

 

When we do go to the library dd would most likely be choosing books herself instead of us choosing books for someone to read to her. She might choose something of lesser quality and I'm fine with that. It doesn't mean I do not read to her though or that we don't have quality books to read in our home. The librarian might not think we do though if she only sees what dd checks out.


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#14 of 41 Old 08-22-2012, 11:31 AM
 
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JudiAU - in our city income defines who is reading what. in the lower income district i see smaller not v. well stocked libraries. in richer areas wow!!! the libraries are awesome. when i put books on hold, i find their stock is mostly in the richer libraries. just like grocery stores. 

 

yet in the poorer areas the libraries are being used religiously. their events have high attendance. the communities DO want to read. but they just dont have the time to. so many dont go to the library. i have volunteered with a children's reading program and all the kids i have worked with through the years were mostly with the working poor for whom literally 20 mins of reading time was asking too much.

 

another thing i discovered which was a cultural and age thing. most immigrant kids and kids with grandparents in the home - they didnt read to the kids much because they had rich storytellers in the family. while these kids struggled with reading and writing, their imaginations stood out. 

 

i recall i stopped pretty much reading to dd when she started reading herself. in fact i kinda stopped at 4 at bedtime just coz i was so exhausted by the end of the day that reading aloud would put me to sleep. so instead i became a story teller. when dd started reading by herself i completely stopped. instead now we read sections to each other of what we find funny or like. 

 

i really do feel reading is a privilege. however i also equate reading to video games. too much reading is bad (here i am talking about older kids). i have a child addicted to reading and i have to draw a line at how much she can read. 

 

mind you the political activist in me really protests the emphasis at reading. is it really that important? or are they focusing on it so that teh world will  have more workers and so the wheels of the corporations can go on turning. 

 

i really really hate the emphasis on reading. it was so much that a child from dd's school had to leave the school. yes he couldnt read v. well but OMG all the sculptures and drawings he made - grades above what the other kids did. and that was never ever even acknowledged. 

 

sorry OT. i really do think reading is a privilege and its not the parents fault if they are not reading to their kids. 

 

i aplogize deeply if i have tread on any toes. this is a v. sore topic for me and i get all emotional about it. i think agriculture was the ancient bane of society. and i think reading to the level we expect them to is the bane of todays society.


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#15 of 41 Old 08-22-2012, 11:46 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Lots of interesting comments here. Yes, ODS is a great storyteller and often illustrates and writes his own stories. We either write for him or laboriously spell each work letter-by-letter.

 

YDD is in the same environment and I doubt she will be the same. Shorter attention span by far by age, less interested in a wide range of material, prefers to listen to the same books over and over, doesn't tell stories on her own or using people/animals/dolls. More intrested in using her body.

 

The libray in question is in a very famous, affluent area that I will not name surrounded by both affulent and mixed income areas. I don't want the librarian's comments outed/enshrined for all time on the interwebs. But the resident population has become dominated by an immigrant group that may or may not place an emphasis on reading to the young. Suprises me if the case because the city's school district is quite good and one of the reasons why people live here. The two local systems surrouding it have massive collections based on size but you would have to ILL them because branch libraries are small. Almost all librarians who want jobs in the public libraries get stuck in the children's department first in rough neighborrhoods because they have a harder time filling those jobs. So lots of uninspired folks with little interest or associated coursework.

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#16 of 41 Old 08-23-2012, 04:51 AM
 
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I'm sure we miss days of reading because we are out and about. Mostly I spend an hour a day reading (kids are 2 and 4) and my husband spends a different hour reading.

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#17 of 41 Old 08-23-2012, 05:34 AM
 
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We read 1-2 books a night to DS. DD is only 15 months so I try reading to her but she'd rather just play with the book.
I never really enjoyed reading as a kid because I would rather be active and playing. I never liked the forced summer reading and book reports for school. Most of those books were from a special book list and were considered classic literature. in high school there were tests on said books.
Now I like reading (helps me fall asleep) because I can choose what I want and don't need to recall any symbolism or anything. I want my kids to enjoy reading too.

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#18 of 41 Old 08-23-2012, 01:18 PM
 
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But the resident population has become dominated by an immigrant group that may or may not place an emphasis on reading to the young. Suprises me if the case because the city's school district is quite good and one of the reasons why people live here. 

i also wonder if the parents cant speak english if they are reading local language books which they probably get from their cultural grocery store - that is if they are reading at all. 

 

i am an immigrant from asia. and here is the interesting thing that might be true. i dont think i was read to much till school. culturally no one really reads to their kids. i remember bedtimes being about chatting and then listening to stories - stories that were made up by my parents with our help. yet mind you our whole family were reading fiends. i grew up with my SAHM reading in bed in the afternoon and we were not 'supposed' to disturb her. my brother and i were huge readers too.

 

i think reading to our kids is a western world concept. i mean yeah we had books as kids and toddlers. and if we asked for it they were read. but never in an asian baby shower in asia would you ever find a book for a child. when i was growing up board books did not exist. 

 

i still recall my 1st grade bday. a hundred kids because it was my bro and my joint bday - all the kids from school and our friends on the block. just children no adults. i remember that bday because i was sooo excited by the tonnes of books we got that my dad had to go and buy a new bookshelf. 

 

when family visited it was their job to tuck us in at night with stories. loved that. 

 

hmmm. i just realised this. interesting. growing up culturally reading was not priority. i dont know if that is still true these days.  


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#19 of 41 Old 08-24-2012, 04:58 PM
 
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Can I ask which math books were recommended to you?  And for any other recommendations you might have?  My 3 yo DD is very interested in numbers lately I I would like some age appropriate books that involve numbers/math in a story telling well, if that makes sense.  Thanks so much!
 


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#20 of 41 Old 08-24-2012, 06:51 PM
 
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We read daily, aloud, from actual paper books orngtongue.gif

 

We always read a small story, or 4, at bedtime and then whenever DS asks to read during the day. He'll also pick up a book and "read" it to himself if the mood hits. We make reading a priority and he really enjoys it.
 


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#21 of 41 Old 08-26-2012, 07:09 PM
 
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Our DD is 3 yrs old.

We read numerous books to her daily. We have done this since she was about 6 or 7 months old. She has always LOVED being read to. We got her her first library card for her 10month "birthday" and she has been an avid user of the library since.

She is taken once a week. She spends about an hour looking at and reading books there. Then we help her choose 10 books to bring home. We then read those books over and over again throughout the week. Plus others that she owns.

 

She is now in full time daycare. So we do not read as much per day anymore. Although she reads books at daycare.

She gets about 10-20 min in the morning...depending on how getting ready is going. About 10-20 minutes in the evening while dinner is cooking. And about 10 minutes at bedtime.

On the weekend, she will get about 1-2 hours a day reading in.

 

She LOVES books. She has been into short story books for the past year or year and a half. Still pre-schooler or Kindergarten age.

We haven't tried longer chapter books with her yet. But she may be ready. She is really into the story and also really into book marks and stopping books at points to take it up where she left off earlier.


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#22 of 41 Old 08-27-2012, 09:35 AM
 
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We read to our younger dd at bedtime and as requested throughout the day. My older dd doesn't like to be read to, and requested that we stop reading bedtime stories shortly after she learned to read. I do talk her into it occasionally, but not often. She does love when I come to school and read aloud to her class. It surprises me because she loves reading so much, but hey, we have other things we enjoy together. I will sometimes read the same books she's read and talk with her about it.

I'm a first grade teacher, and teaching reading and writing is what I am most drawn to as a teacher. I don't think that the it's the amount of time per day that you spend reading so much as the quality that makes the difference. Even just 5-10 minutes per day makes a huge difference if it's enjoyable. Having your child on your lap or snuggled in is very important, making the time something to look forward to, talking about the books, things like pointing to the words as you read them from time to time- teaches them that the words on the page supply the meaning. It is also important that they see you enjoying reading your own books. They also say a literature rich environment helps, so basically, books that are easily accessible. We have books in each girls room, books in the play room, family room and living room. My oldest is crazy about reading and almost spends too much time reading sometimes. We have rules for when she is not allowed to read... in parking lots, while walking down the stairs, during family dinners, etc. LOL! I never expected my little one to be so crazy about books too, but she definitely requests to be read to a lot.

I was thinking that the librarian is only seeing the people who actually go to the library. All but one of my Mommy friends read to their kids (most are teachers, so that affects things), but I don't know of any of them who go to the library frequently. Maybe because many of them are teachers-- we tend to have a lot of books at home. I make it to the library 3 or 4 times per year. When I do go to the library, I rarely go to the desk because I typically look up books online before buying/borrowing them, and I do that at home. I like to read the reviews first so I am prepared for the content. Plus, I know a lot of the kids are getting kindles and ereaders and borrowing books that way. I wonder if it's not so much that how much people are reading to their kids is changing as it's how much they need the library that's changing.

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#23 of 41 Old 08-27-2012, 12:09 PM
 
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I read 30-60 minutes every night to my 11 yo... However, I have never asked a librarian for book suggestions for him. And when he was young, I preferred picking out books for him from the thrift store to using the library. I could redonate them if we didn't want to keep them and I didn't have to worry about keeping track of them or late fees. He also likes owning nice clean copies that aren't dogeared of his favorite books so I might buy some books when finances aren't too tight.


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#24 of 41 Old 08-27-2012, 05:21 PM
 
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My kiddo is 11 and while I don't necessarily read to him anymore, he reads for hours a day.  Our library has 'family' story time on Saturdays for kids who are school age but all story hours are open to any age range.  They also have a reading program where kids can read to a therapy dog. And another program where kids in grades 1-4 can read with a teen volunteer.

 

The second library system has a Saturday program where kids in grades 1-3 can get tested for reading levels.

 

When my kiddo was younger we would spend hours reading - yes hours.  He started reading on his own between ages 3-4.  By age 5 he was well into reading chapter books on his own.

 

I agree that lower income areas need more access to materials and the wealthier areas have the best libraries.  I make a point to go out of my way to visit a library in the 'higher income'section of town.

 

The children's librarian at this particular library has been great over the years.  My kiddo loves her and she can always give great recommendations for him - from any section of the building!


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#25 of 41 Old 08-28-2012, 11:55 PM
 
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When we travel on long trips (train, or in airports waiting to change flights) I still sometimes read aloud to both (14 & 16). If my voice gets tired, they take a turn as well. The 14 year-old still enjoys it on a more regular basis, so I read aloud for about 30 minutes almost every evening. We've done a fair amount of Terry Pratchett and now I'm reading some Neal Stephenson to him. He can read fine by himself, it's just something that we enjoy together.

 

I started reading to my kids when they were babies.

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#26 of 41 Old 08-29-2012, 01:00 PM
 
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Perhaps the reason fewer parents are using the library, especially in such an affluent area, is because there are other ways of accessing books nowdays.  All three of my kids have their own Kindles and read on their Kindles.  My dd is only 6 and prefers reading from the Kindle or ipad because she can enlarge the type.  She's a very advanced reader and the large type makes it  easier on her.  Also, we have our own library of hundreds of childrens' books (none with licensed characters!)  I still read to my 10 year old 3 times a week, and I read to my dd every night-- a chapter or two from whichever book we're reading at the time. 

 

We go to a fabulous childrens' bookstore when we want to bring actual books home.  There's one great library within 20 minutes, but it's out of the way.  The closer library has really cranky staff.  So...   I think it's possible a lot more parents are reading than the librarians know about. 

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#27 of 41 Old 08-29-2012, 05:45 PM
 
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We read to our kids (ages 4 and 7) daily. DS7 is a very good reader and can easily read all his favorite chapter books on his own, but he still likes being read to, and DH and I enjoy reading to him. We read him a chapter or two of whatever book he's reading every night at bedtime -- maybe half an hour or so. With DD4, she picks out one or two picture books before bedtime. 

 

We also read here and there throughout the day if they ask, or sometimes DS will read to DD. 

 

I think it's important to still read to older kids -- I have such fond memories of my parents reading to me even when I was perfectly capable of reading by myself. 


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#28 of 41 Old 08-29-2012, 08:45 PM
 
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We read to the kids nightly before bed for 10-20 minutes. There is often a read-aloud time during the day as part of our homeschooling (10-15 min); I'd say about 3-4 days a week. Also, our older, literate children spend anywhere from 30 min to 2 hours a day reading to themselves.


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#29 of 41 Old 09-07-2012, 04:27 AM
 
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I have 3 children, 5, 3, and 1, we also home school so it probably makes a difference winky.gif

 

I read 2-3 chapters during "school" time each day. We read as many picture books as the children want (usually between 10-20 a day if not more). Bedtime I read another 1-2 chapters from a chapter book. We do scripture time as a family each morning and afternoon. Then we do school work.. So, A TON. My children love me reading to them and I love to read to them.

 

ETA: my children aren't required to sit still for me to read to them. They are usually playing while I read although I do require them to be in the same room orngbiggrin.gif At first I thought "this is useless why am I doing it" but they actually retain the story BETTER when they are physically active while I read.. After one particularly hard day when they didn't want to sit still I put the book down and my oldest got upset since she wanted to know what happened to the little girl when she got to the garden. I didn't think she was listening at all but she was. Also, part of the reason I read to them is so that they hear the language/sentence structure to help their speech. I can see a huge difference with my younger two that Ive read to a LOT compared to my oldest at their age. I'm pretty sure a good part of it is they hear language all the time since I read to them so much.


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#30 of 41 Old 09-08-2012, 12:44 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JudiAU View Post

My kids are 3 and 5.

 

I usually go to a particularly good library near work for an adjacent city to where live. Their collection is superior and their staff is really really good. It seems to be the rare library these days that actual staffs the desk with the good children's librarians rather than librarians hiding in the back with useless aids at the front. (Full disclosure: I am a librarian in a specialized field totally unrelated to children's literature.)

 

So I was asking for various recommendations on a couple of specific topics for my 5 year old. I wanted some interesting uses of numbers or math or money, not for teaching a specific concept necessarily just to enjoy them and I excluded the three we had; I wanted a couple of "adventure stories" broadly defined and mentioned two that he really likes which are sophisticated and require discussion but are excellent; and I wanted some sort of book featuring handiwork or community-value sharing.

 

At the end of the discussion she blurted out that she was baffled by my requests because she and some of the librarians had come to the conclusion the other day that people simply weren't reading books to their kids anymore. Most of the material getting checked out from their seriously awesome collection was junk or media; people complained about the lack of licensed material daily; they rarely got involved parents asking for anything of merit that wasn't directly related to school work; and once kids could read for themselves at any level parents just... dropped...out. I get that she was venting a bit and actually apologized a few minutes later but it really gave me pause. If this is the best local collection with the best local staff what are the crummy libraries experiencing?

We go to our local library at least once a week. They actually don't even have a children's librarian on the weekend any more (although they do during the week). The collection definitely gets good use, though. There are always kids there reading on their own or with their parents, and I frequently see the circulation folks downstairs processing big stacks of children's books. We usually have 10-20 books checked out at a time and one gets recalled once a week or so, so people are clearly interested in specific books. Because we live in a big city, there are other branch libraries nearby and we go to others--the story hours are always hopping and I always see parents and kids reading and checking out books.

 

We lived for two years in the suburbs in another state and the library there was gorgeous and ALWAYS super busy. Parents would bring canvas bags and check out 15 or 20 books at a time. And this was in an affluent area where people could certainly afford to buy books. The library we used to frequent in another large city was also always busy. I saw/see people checking out DVDs in all of these locations, but the books are definitely the main draw. 

 

In any case, to answer your question: we read aloud to dd (6) daily. The amount of time varies considerably, depending on what else we're doing that day--could be 15 minutes, could be an hour. She also reads aloud to us pretty much every day. 

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