Sunday, 14 March 2010

Encouraging Reading in the Next Generation

I just posted another new quote that I love. It's from Emilie Buchwald (co-founder of Milkweed Editions- a non-profit publishing company) and it states: "Children are made readers on the laps of their parents". I love it ... because it's so true.

When my first child, "Cub" was born I told my husband that one of my goals as a mother was to instill a love of reading in my kids. Since my husband cannot be considered a "reader" (he's read 2 books for entertainment in our almost 13 years of marriage) I knew that the responsibility of creating a future generation of readers in our family fell squarely on my shoulders. That's fine ... I was up to the challenge.

Reading has been an important part of my life since I was about 11 years old. Up until then I wasn't a diehard reader but once I got a hold of Nancy Drew I was officially bit by the Reading Bug. Even today, seeing those yellow spines gives me very fond memories of reading. I want to be able to hand down that feeling to my kids.

It was important to me for my kids to see that I loved reading. I clearly remember many, many night feedings when I'd pull out a book to keep myself from nodding off half way through a feeding. I was astounded at how many books I read in the wee hours of the morning while feeding my children!

During those early years I'd read children's books to my kids even when they were very young babies. They didn't understand the words that I was reading but they saw me holding a book and I liked them listening to my voice. I could have read a cookbook to them and they wouldn't have known the difference. It was time on Mommy's lap for a snuggle and some listening.

Thankfully, the reading bug bit my kids very early on. At the age of only 2, "Cub" would insist on either my husband or I reading the same 2 books to him at naptime and at bedtime. Those books were "Hilda Crumb's Hats" and the classic Dr Seuss "Mr Brown Can Moo, Can You?". At the time I'd inwardly groan because there were so many other books that I personally wanted to share with him but read his favourites we did!! Even now, 8 years later I can still recite both books almost perfectly! "Missy Moo" loves books about Christmas ... even in June. Bring it on. At least she's wanting to read!

So how do get your kids to be readers??? The simple and easy answer is - daily reading. Starting at an early age parents can set up daily times to read to their children. In our family we especially liked right before bedtimes because it was a way to calm the kids down for some quiet time and it was nice to get some cuddle time in too.

As kids get older, you can get them to read to you. Local libraries have oodles of beginner reader books for kids to sink their teeth into. Even if they read one page and you read the next it helps. Usborne has great books that help young readers share the reading with their parents. The kids read the writing on the top of the page (about a sentence or so that is easy reading) and the parents read the bottom of each page which is more difficult.

It's also vital that kids see their parents reading for their own pleasure. Kids copy what they see (good and bad). My kids know that reading is something that I love to do and is something that I feel I need to do daily.

Some days I feel like I overdid it instilling a love of reading in my kids. When I have to tell "Karate Guy", who is 8 years old, to "PUT DOWN THE BOOK or you'll be late for school!!" my husband just chuckles and says that I was the one who wished my kids to be avid readers. Touche! Oh well, I think the obvious benefits of having 3 avid readers outweighs the occasional rush to school in the morning. :)

Question for you: So .... have you been able to instill the love of reading in your kids? How did you do it? Have you been a book lover since you were a child?

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails