“A capacity and taste for reading gives access to whatever has already been discovered by others.”
~ Abraham Lincoln
Don’t we all want to raise children who LOVE to read? Reading is a gift we can give our children that will NEVER leave them. It is the gift of travel, fantasy, knowledge, and so much more. In short, reading is the ticket to nearly EVERYTHING in today’s world.
When we see a child with their nose in a book we are wondering what exactly those parents DID to inspire a love of literature. I can’t tell you how many times people have asked me, “How did you get her to WANT to read so much?” The answer is usually one like, “We own so many books, she has no choice!” or “We’ve been reading to her since the day she was born.”
Both of my children are AVID readers, and I believe there are a few basic things parents can do to raise a reader.
Begin reading to your children from birth.
Choose simple board books and read over and over to the youngest of children. Our children’s favorite was hands down The Foot Book, by Dr. Seuss. Make books more available than you do toys!
Keep books THROUGHOUT your home.
We have bookshelves in nearly every room of our home. When the children were little we had book baskets and we rotated books in and out to maintain interest.
Do your children see YOU reading? Are you reading varied types of material (books, newspapers, magazines, etc…)? Do you spend your free time reading instead of playing on the computer or watching television? Do you discuss what you are currently reading at the dinner table? Children notice all of these little things. If mom and dad think reading is cool, they will, too.
Choose quality literature to read aloud to your children.
Reading aloud to children builds listening skills, increases a child’s attention span, and develops the ability to concentrate at length. In our home we read aloud to our children each and every day. I’m also very picky about what is read in our home. Classics and award winners are always a great place to start. For an extensive list, check out the Treasury of Read-Alouds by Jim Trelease.
Get to know your local librarian.
Make going to the library a big deal! On our library day we get a milkshake after picking out our favorite books. Have your children get their own library card from a young age and introduce them to the librarian(s). Encourage your children to share their interests with the librarian and have them select books they would enjoy.
*image courtesy hortongrou