I'm going to assume that most of you reading this blog know about Donald Trump's reality show "The Apprentice." If you don't, it's ok. I just want to mention that in one episode as he was giving some business tips, he ended with this statement "Do it with Gusto."
I like that statement and I would like to take it and apply it to reading aloud to children. Yes, read aloud to children with GUSTO! What does that mean? It means do more than just read. Captivate them with your use of voice variations, facial expressions, and gestures. Engage them with repetitive phrases and questions. Make the story come alive for them.
I must admit that one has to be "in the mood" to be able to pull this off. So do try to put away your worries for 15 minutes and let go of your inhibitions. Don't be afraid of being silly in front of your kids. It's the silliness they crave for. It's your exaggeration and enthusiasm that will foster their love for reading.
I found it very humorous the other day when during my reading session with the kids, my 2 1/2 year old toddler declared that he would read to me instead that night. He flipped open the book, referred to the familiar pictures, pointed to the words and pretended to read. Of course he couldn't read the words. He used his own words instead but made it seem like that was what was written. And what was hilarious was that he was using different voices to portray the different characters. Oh, kids are such good copycats. Which goes to show that reading aloud with GUSTO is how they would like us to read.
You don't need special training. You just need to enjoy the story and awake the sleeping actor/actress within you. Remember, to read with GUSTO, just let loose, be silly, get into character and dive into the story with enthusiasm.