One mom's tips on how to raise a reader
I'm not a teacher or a librarian. I'm not an expert at all. Really, I'm just a mom who loves to read. Books have been my friends since, well, since forever. I read books, newspapers, even the back of a cereal box if it's in front of me. I try my best to encourage my kids to have that same love of the written word, and here are my tips, from one mom to another, on how to make that happen.
1. Read for knowledge. Kids have an insatiable thirst for more and more information. My son probably asks nine zillion questions a day, and all about 6 surpass any off-the-top-of-my-head answers I have. So, I look it up. Simple, right? But now, at not quite four, he knows that answers to all of life's mysteries (or at least the ones you ask about at 3) can be found by reading. Whether it's online, in a newspaper, or in an encyclopedia, my son will know that reading will find him the answers he's seeking.
2. Read for pleasure. Books are fantastic, glorious adventures. They let your children's imaginations take them places they may never really go.
Talk to your kids about the books they read. Ask them what they would do in Neverland, what they would name a blue puppy, and what things they think a Borrower might borrow. Show your children, that just like those three examples, the book is always better than the movie.
3. Make the library a familiar place. The library is like an amusement park for readers. I remember looking at the vast stacks of books as a kid, knowing I could only have a few, and wishing I could read every single one. I'm still amazed by the number of books I can read, all with the power of my library card.
We are carrying on a family tradition of being allowed to check out the same number of books as your age. I'm not sure where my mom got that idea, but I still check out 33 books. And as a side note, it works really well at helping you remember how many have to be returned!
Parmly Billings Library has story time every single day, for a variety of ages. They have kid's reading programs, teen book clubs, and tons of community events. The library also teaches a great lesson on borrowing someone else's property, caring for it, and returning it so that other people can enjoy it too.
4. Read for bonding. I have read to my toddler since he was born, and my youngest, even sooner. Even once they can read, keep on reading to them. I have a good friend who reads to her 11 and 8 year old children every night. To me, that is about as good as quality time gets.
5. My last and best tip...let them see you reading. Whether its a book or an e-reader, make sure that your kids know that you enjoy reading, and that you're not playing Angry Birds in your free time. Or at least, not all your free time. Kids want to be like their parents, at least until they're teenagers. Even then, they probably emulate you, they just aren't going to admit to it anymore. So, read, read, read. Turn off the television and find a friend in a book. In my experience, that's the best way to be sure your kids will do the same.