Freising: Reading lessons for children in the city library – Freising

Good reading aloud does not have to be flawless, and even slips of the tongue do not bother children: it is much more important to read in an exciting and engaging way, to switch between different voices, to vary the pitch and volume of the voice and to respond to the pictures in picture books , as Claudia Auer explains. Twice a month she organizes reading lessons for five- to eight-year-old children in the Freising City Library. On Wednesday, she read from “Dragon Master,” in which eight-year-old Drake is trained to become a dragon master.

The children present listened attentively and then, together with Auer, made little kites out of clothespins, “Wäscheglupperl”, as she says in Bavarian. It is important to her to start and end each reading session with similar rituals so that the children feel comfortable. This also includes talking about the book after reading it and doing crafts or painting together.

Reading aloud helps to preserve the joy of reading and promotes the ability to concentrate

Few goals for early childhood education are arguably seen as positively as reading aloud. Claudia Auer explains that reading aloud promotes language development and vocabulary, but also the ability to concentrate in children. Susanne Beck, head of the city library, adds that children who are excited about being read to can quickly start reading themselves. Reading aloud in the home builds an “atmosphere of love, meaning that reading has a generally positive connotation”.

This is also very important to Auer: She read to her three children every night as a ritual to spend time with the family. She notes that young children have a lot of fun reading aloud, but this changes as soon as they enter school: reading is then combined with work and the fun is lost. Therefore, reading aloud is primarily about creating a pleasant experience together as a family: “It just has to be fun!”

Claudia Auer believes that reading aloud has declined in recent years thanks to modern media and in particular the Tonie radio players. Susanne Beck states that these characters and radio plays are very popular when they are borrowed from the city library, but of course this is not a substitute for reading aloud: “The personal relationship you can build at home is missing.” Especially since parents react to the children when they read aloud, ask them questions, the children identify with the characters and also look at the pictures for a longer time: “The interactivity is the important thing when you read aloud.” She recommends the lesestart.de portal for parents, a federally funded program to promote language and reading in children aged one to three, which presents ideas for reading aloud, crafts and book recommendations.

Susanne Beck heads the Freising City Library. Since the beginning of the corona pandemic, the library has had a shortage of volunteers for the reading hours.

(Photo: Marco Einfeldt)

A third of parents rarely or never read aloud, and a sixth generally do not like to read aloud

According to the Reading Survey 2021 by the Reading Foundation, almost a third of parents rarely read at home, i.e. less than once a week, or not at all, or tell their children stories. According to the 2019 study on reading aloud, several activities that many parents do not associate with reading aloud clearly belong to reading aloud: for example, looking at pictures in a book and telling stories about them, looking in hidden object books or reading digital books aloud. According to the study, telling stories or fairy tales is also very similar to reading aloud, while listening to, for example, audiobooks has little to do with reading aloud, although it still stimulates language. So reading aloud is more diverse than many people think – and could also appeal to almost a sixth of parents who say they don’t like reading aloud.

Anyone who is interested can take part in the city library’s reading lessons, which are offered weekly on a rotating basis for three-four- and five-eight-year-old children. These are usually designed by volunteers, primarily female readers. Since the corona pandemic, some volunteers have not been there, and therefore the library is looking for new readers, says Susanne Beck. Parents can bring their children and take them on a reading journey to Little Raven Socke, Drake the Dragonmaster or other heroes.

The next reading session for three- to four-year-olds is on Tuesday 27 September at 3.30pm and for five-eight-year-olds on Wednesday 5 October at 3pm. Admission is free, registration is not required.

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