For The Huffington Post. February 2017.
Reading along with kids can be a lot of fun. It gives you a chance to bond with your kids, just one-on-one, without interruptions from the outside world. I wrote Beato Goes To series of children’s picture books keeping in mind that parents need conversation starters to help them share stories about their own childhood, their beliefs and interests. My goal was also to discuss important life lessons, such as eating healthy, respecting adults, being truthful, taking care of the environment, and accepting differences among cultures. And what better way to explore the world than through a traveling cat!
With these helpful tips, you can make your story time sessions educational and enjoyable for the both of you. I can guarantee your kids will be asking for Beato Goes To at every bedtime!
Encourage Dialogue Between Parents and Child
Tell them stories from your own experiences. If you are reading Beato Goes To Greenland then tell your young ones about the time when and where you first saw the northern lights and how did you feel when you first saw this magical phenomenon. When reading Beato Goes To Israel, some questions to answer are – What are some of your favorite fruits? Do you have any childhood memories eating them? And discussion ideas for Beato Goes To Indonesia could be about the time you went scuba diving, flew a kite, or hiked a volcano? Tell your little one all about it!
Study New Words
Your kids will find a lot of new words in Beato Goes To books. This is a great opportunity for them to expand their vocabulary, sentence construction and writing skills. Ask them to make a note of the words they don’t understand and look them up in a dictionary/ thesaurus. There are also some foreign words in the books that help kids with exposing their tongues to new languages. It is really fun to say Kangerlussuaq (“Big Fjord” in Kalaallisut language) really fast!
Expand Interest to Other Topics
All of Beato Goes To books showcase many aspects of life, including geography, nature, animals, people, culture, religion, music, dance, food, environment, birds and more. You may notice your kid gravitating towards one topic more than another. This is a good opportunity to expose them to a wide variety of things, and encourage new learning. For example, if your kid shows more interest in whales and underwater creatures, take them to the aquarium or get them a book on marine life, and discuss what Beato saw in the book.
Engage With the Greater Community
Chances are, you have people from different nationalities in your neighborhood, school, place of worship, etc. By learning about where those people originate from, your kids would have deeper knowledge of their cultural beliefs and open to participating in unfamiliar events. For example, many Jewish Community Centers hold book festivals, movie screenings and kids events.
Make Your Family Travel Bucket List
Perhaps one of Beato Goes To books will inspire your kids, and you, to travel more. You are probably thinking, international travel can be very expensive and we cannot afford to go on vacation more than once a year, or every two years. Then you can work together as a family to save for your vacation, research everything about the destination, and live the experience leading up to the day. For example, you can make monthly goals to – earn extra cash by babysitting or cutting grass, go try an Indonesian restaurant, take a free yoga class, watch an Indonesian (English subtitled) movie, collect coins or currency, learn a few words in Bhasa (the national language), make your on Batik painting, or do puzzles to learn about the scenery, make your own chocolates, then make a craft book about everything you did. This way, you will already be prepared and super excited when it comes time to travel to Indonesia!
Make Time For Self Learning
The augmented reality app (coming March 2017 to iTunes and Google Play) designed to work with Beato Goes To books is a great learning tool that combines reading and modern technology. Using a smart phone or iPad, kids will be able to make the books come alive, with motion, light and audio. There will be interactive pages to keep kids’ attention on the book with built in activities, such as counting, color matching, and more.
Do you have other ideas on how to enrich the reading experience for parents and kids that you would like to share with other parents? Leave a comment below…
Published on The Huffington Post. February 2017.