My dream house has a bookshelf in every room and a library complete with a fireplace and some comfy chairs. I have always been a reader and was raised to love all books from nonfiction to completely cheesy romance novels. When I entered school I was already reading a couple grades ahead and had to sit outside the class and do separate reading assignments. I didn’t care though because when I am reading the world stands still. I knew when I had kids that I wanted to pass that love to my girls.
One of my earliest memories is of my grandmother reading me Snow White. She would change her voice to sound like the characters and I would listen to her with all my heart, memorizing the words, living the book. I knew that this is one of the biggest reasons that I love to read, I was read to. Studies show that children who are read to excel in school, are more confident, have a larger vocabulary, are better listeners and have longer attention spans, and are more creative and curious about their world. Most parents assume that once children can read they will not want to be read to, however if you get in the habit of reading aloud every night, children will never tire of it!
Another way to encourage reading is to change up your home library every couple of months. Kids should have new books as often as they get new clothes. (New meaning, new to them- we buy from Half Price Books all the time!) Change the books to go with the seasons, to accommodate new interests, and to challenge your children to push their reading skills. In our house we are constantly trading in books to fit our needs, that way others can benefit from them and the books we are interested in are not buried in piles of others.
The library is also a great place to foster a love of reading. It costs nothing, the possibilities are endless, and you can rest assured that given free rein your child will find something that he or she wants to look at or learn about. I made each of the girls their own book bag to take to the library and they can take out as many books as they can fit or carry. (Usually I end up carrying a few for them as well because I can never say no to books.) If they want a certain book or topic I have them ask the librarian if she isn’t busy, that helps with their social and communication skills. Our library has morning reading activities as well which are always fun to drop in for and reading challenges to make reading a habit.
I think that one of the biggest influences on how your children view reading is your own attitude. Many nights the kids will come downstairs to see me engrossed in a book, after lunch they will sit with me while I listen to a book on my iPhone and crochet. I am just as excited to find new books at the library and at garage sales that peak my interest, and often I will explain why I like a book or didn’t enjoy it. My husband is also a reader and we share many recommendations with each other, which is nice because left to my own devices I tend to stick to my favorite authors.
Hopefully the girls will keep their love of books and pass it on to their own children. They can see the value of books, the satisfaction in learning from them, and the enjoyment when I am reading aloud to them at night. Currently we are reading the Harry Potter series and then watching the movie, which leads to talking about a variety of things from budgets, casting, plot changes, and story development…. it is really nice to know that they look forward to our special time together!
What about you? Were you read to as a child and do you read aloud to your children daily?
**For more information about reading aloud to your kids I really recommend The Read Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease!!
Also, don’t forget to enter the giveaway to add to your own library a wonderful book about a squirrel waiting for winter!