Books are a powerful way to build bonds, but there's more to it than just sharing your favorites.
Reading is one of the main ways I connect with my grandchildren. They sit enthralled through as many stories as I’m willing to read. As someone who loves books unreservedly, I’m usually good for at least three or four a day via FaceTime, or more if we are together. We’ve got a pretty extensive library at home, which keeps things fresh. (Not that it matters—I could read the same book 10 times over and the two-year-old would still say, “Read it again!” when I was through.)
Lately, I’ve been choosing the books more thoughtfully. Instead of just choosing a few favorites, I find three or four with a common element, and ask the four-year-old to guess what that element is. One day I read Big Dog and Little Dog Going for a Walk followed by McDuff and the Baby. My grandson quickly guessed that the theme of the day was dogs. I pushed him a little further by asking him what he thought I might read next. He thought a moment and then shouted “Go Dog Go!” He was right. Another day it was Green Eggs and Ham followed by I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie. This was a little more abstract, but he still guessed correctly that we were reading books about eating. We followed up with The Little Red Hen Makes a Pizza.
I love this opportunity to use books to help them develop early critical thinking skills and to learn to make connections. As they get older, books will be a bridge for far more. Through the books we read, we can share our values, teach them about the culture of their ancestors and introduce them to new interests. By engaging our grandchildren through reading, we can spark their curiosity and learn more about each other. Along the way, we are deepening the bonds we have with them. Reading is a powerful way to connect.
If you believe in that power, I’m excited to share a new resource with you, Reading for Connection. This inexpensive eBook will be filled with ideas for how to engage children of all ages through reading, activities for both in-person and virtual story dates, recommended book lists and so much more. It will be available soon in collaboration with The Long Distance Grandparent, and we can’t wait to get it in your hands! Join the waiting list now so you’ll know as soon as it is published.
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