I just finished reading “Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins (Young Adult literature). I couldn’t put it down. I love (LOVE ) a good book.
I don’t remember a time when books have not been a part of my life.
My mom read to us when we were kids. As we got older she read longer and more sophisticated books to us…a couple of chapters every night. I loved having all of us crammed together on the couch or on the bed, listening as stories unfolded.
I carried on the same tradition with my own kids and loved it even more. Now that they are grown, all of my kids are avid readers and we exchange books and recommendations with each other. I LOVE a good book!
These days there are huge concerns about “educating” our kids (starting when kids are younger and younger) and about “literacy”. I wonder how much illiteracy is due to parents not finding the time to read to their kids? And to continue to read to their kids, even when their kids are able to read to themselves. I think the reason that I fell in love with books is because my mom continued to read to us…and I continued reading to my kids. I loved sharing the adventure of the story with them. The closeness, the conversations and human interaction that we had with each other. There is nothing I have found that can replace this experience as a family.
I watch as parents focus on teaching their 2 year old to identify colors, shapes and letters. The pride they have in “how smart” their child is. And then…not read to their kids, or if they do, they stumble over (or don’t recognize) the simple words in their kids picture books. Soon the kids get bored and want to watch TV instead. How does this happen? If you want your child to WANT to learn to read, help them fall in love with books! This is a gift that can last their entire lives.
If you have young kids:
- Take them to the library on a regular basis (weekly/every other week).
- Let them check out the books they want to.
- READ their books aloud to them. Read WELL to them–with expression and interest. (If you are not a good reader, practice. Read aloud to yourself until you get comfortable with it and good at it). Engage them in the story.
- Keep reading to them.
- Model reading–let them see that you read too.
- Have books available for them to read.
- Limit TV time, or at least watch TV with them.
Great advice, Debi. As a former English teacher and librarian I can attest that the kids who learn to enjoy reading are the ones who read AND LEARN. It almost doesn’t matter what they read as long as they enjoy it because it will keep them practicing that skill … and it IS a skill just like playing an instrument, sport or drawing. If a child enjoys doing something, and is encouraged through participation/socialization, that child will learn and grow into a life-long learner.
You can’t keep a child from learning, so the best thing to do is guide that learning into positive areas … and reading together is a wonderful way of both guiding and modeling a positive activity. Besides, what can be more relaxing than enjoying a good book together with your family?
Pat, thank you for expanding on how kids learn/benefit from reading. This is a subject that is so near and dear to my heart. Some of my warmest memories as a child and as a parent were spent curled up listening to or reading a good book aloud. And really, I’ve NEVER heard anyone say…”I really regret the time I spent reading with my child.”
I would love to see a book swap where we could take a bunch of books in and get a bunch of books back since we live in an area not supported by a Library district.