Do you want to be funny? Do you want to have a good time, parents? Do you want to be corny?

Read aloud to your children.

Listening to literature (stories) being read aloud is one of the most valuable and pleasurable experiences beginning readers and writers can have. Read alouds should be part of every child’s day. — America Reads at Bank Street College of Education

To read with expression and different voices for each character, to put your whole corny self into the stories you read to your children is one of the best bonding experiences you can have. Your children will be wide-eyed and smiling, and soon, you and your children will be laughing heartily, truly enjoying each other.

Let your older children be some of the voices if there are several characters in the book. Your family time will be joyous and fun. Your family can even act out the story if you enjoy it and want to read it more than once.

Even if you are a shy or fearful person around adults, you can let your hair down and have a good time as you read to your children. If you preview the book so that you know what it is about and who the characters are, you can do even a better job of “acting.”

Give it all you’ve got! Dramatic and fun sound effects, hand motions, facial expressions, and changes in tone invite children to become a part of the story with you. Scholastic.com

Choose books or stories about things that are familiar to you and of interest to your family. If your family is into sports, seek books like “Don’t Throw it to Mo!” by David Adler; “Goodnight Football,” by Michael Dahl; “She’s Got This” (gymnastics), by Laurie Hernandez; or “Jabari Jumps” (swimming), by Gaia Cornwall. Your librarian is a pro in helping you find books of interest to you and your family.

Especially enjoy the illustrations that accompany the story. Invite your children to use their senses for not only the sights (pictures), but the sounds, smells, tastes, physical sensations and emotions.

Get reactions to the story. Ask open-ended questions — why, how, what — about how the story went or how children would change parts of it or its ending.

Encourage predictions. When you look at the cover of the book, ask your children to tell you what they think it is about. Before you turn the page, let them tell you what they think will happen next. Allow them to predict the ending of the book.

If your children have a hard time sitting still, let them play with play dough or draw while you are reading. I guarantee they will look up when they hear you roar like a lion or cry like a baby. You are the actor!

And who will get the Academy Award … from your children?

YOU. CORNY YOU!

Reading aloud to your children might help them enter this month’s Love of Reading Contest.

I love my readers! Happy Valentine’s Day.

Southern Arizona resident Bette Mroz is a former teacher, reading specialist and principal. As a mother and grandmother, she continues to help her family learn. She can be contacted at bettemroz@gmail.com

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