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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

"Good Night Moon" and the Interview

Following on the last post "Listening to your kids will help them get a job", this one will continue with the theme of communication.  Along with listening, reading to your child has tremendous value.

Even a small infant will benefit from having an adult or older child read to them.  Concepts such as stories, numbers, letters, colors and shapes can be learned from even the simplest of books.  

Children of all ages will learn listening skills from regular story time with Mom or Dad.  Imagine your child responding to an interview question with a completely unrelated answer because they did not listen well and you can see the importance of developing this skill.

Vocabulary is built naturally through reading.  Of course this happens whether a story is being read aloud or to oneself but at younger ages the context is not always enough to understand a new word. This can work especially well if we parents make a point of reading patiently and pausing to answer questions from our kids rather than telling them, "Hush, let me finish the story".  I am sure that my daughter learned what "mittens" are thanks to the popular book Good Night Moon.  Reading it 700 times also helped!

Learning how to tell a story is another interview skill that can be picked up through reading.  This one in particular requires us to read out loud to our kids rather than having them read on their own.

The ubiquitous interview question, "Tell me about yourself." is one where a child who has been read to growing up will have an advantage.  The typical response to this question is a monotone summary in bullet point form of the new graduate's very limited experience. Which of course the interviewer already knows since he or she is holding the resume when they ask this question.  Additionally, this flat rendition will not stick in the interviewer's mind when he is trying to decide which candidates will proceed to the next stage.  Compare this to the young man who confidently shares a defining moment in his life with the interviewer and does so with a bit of drama and flair.

We have been reading to our son since he was an infant.  It is not easy to make time and many nights my wife and I just want to get the kids in bed and out of the way so we can finish the thousand and one things we have left to do after what always seems like a day with too few hours in it.  However, recently our son has started taking over the role of reading to our 2 year old daughter before bedtime.  It is wonderful listening in and hearing him act out the voice of the Grinch or pause on a particular page and ask his younger sister, "Can you find the picture of the dog?"  This early ability to tell a story will hopefully stay with him as he grows up into a young man and needs to perform in a job interview.

On top of all of the benefits listed above, my son and daughter will have the knowledge that Mommy or Daddy spent those fifteen to twenty minutes with them each night and those were moments that were exclusively theirs with no TV or phones or other siblings to interfere.  The feelings of security and confidence that children develop when they know they are loved are invaluable.

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