Reading Aloud with Nana and Pop

Welcome to Reading on Wednesday. Today’s post is on reading aloud again, but this time I’m sharing some ideas suggested for grandparents who wish to read aloud to their grandchildren.

Did you know grandparents are active buyers of children’s books? I didn’t until I began talking to a local bookseller about the number of grandmother-grandchild couples I found in the children’s part of the book store. The bookseller says that her “nana and pop” buyers have grown over the last two years, so her store has specifically begun marketing children’s books to grandparents. She regularly gets questions from grandparents about popular series, picture books, and  e-books because grandparents want to buy books for their grandchildren. On some months, grandparents have outnumbered the parents who walk in the store asking for children’s books.

I began doing a bit of investigating and found several sites for grandparents who want to use books as a way to connect to their grandchildren. They feature book reviews, grandparent brag books, and what-your-granddaughter/grandson-is-reading lists. Most of the sites recommended reading aloud some suggest classics, others contemporary stories. Either way, they are suggesting reading books together.

One of the most popular suggestions for grandparents is for them to record, either with video or audio, themselves reading stories to the child. Not only do these make wonderful keepsakes, they are valuable ways to “watch” television.

One grandfather read the entire Narnia series into a video camera while another grandmother read her Nancy Drew books, while still others read storybooks like Love You, Forever. Grandparents often wrote that they would buy two copies of a book so they could mail one to the grandchild and keep one to read together over a web cam or Skype.

Just another way the love of storytelling is being passed down from one generation to another.

Raising Readers

Do you want to encourage your children to read more or to just to read, period? Are you willing to make changes to the way you think or do you only desire a tweak or two?

A Smidgen More

Focus on words. Next time you are in the car with your children, point out a sign with a river, town, city, or neighborhood sign and ask if anyone can figure out how it got it’s name. You don’t have to know the answer, just stroke their curiosity a bit.  For example, we pass a teeny, tiny community called Mount Sylvan. One day, we rounded a ridge, looked at the view that stretched out before us, and realized the community was named for being a high point in the area. Well, duh. But it hadn’t occured to us before. Since then my daughters have become more aware of how often geographical features influence the names of towns and cities around them.

A Lot More

Read together. Even after your children have grown past the point of having you read a book at bedtime, begin a family tradition of reading books together. Either have a parent read the chapter of a book aloud each evening as everyone gathers for dinner or before a television show, or find a book to read simultaneously and pass the book back and forth. Sharing book characters like this can create sweet memories for you and your children, and it gives you a chance to talk about a book and its ideas. And don’t be a book snob and lock into thinking it has to be fiction. If your child wants to learn how to braid hair or is begging for a puppy, then find a good non-fiction book and share it, and yourself, with a child.