For the Love of Books!
Several years ago I started a tradition of reading stories to my grandchildren over Skype, and it’s been fun. But the best of all is when they request my book, Lexie’s Adventure in Kenya: Love is Patient. Since the oldest was the model for it, she says it’s her book, but the other two enjoy it as well, and I can’t wait to have an entire collection of books written by their grandma. But it’s not just that book they enjoy; they love anything I read to them!
A recent study out of the University of Nevada at Reno discovered that a child who has more than 25 books in his or her home is equal to a year of education, and a child who has read or been read 500 or more books equals 3.2 years of education! I’m going to shoot for the 500 or more books, and I know my daughter would agree.
It’s easy to impart the love of reading to your preschooler. Reading books aloud builds vocabulary, comprehension, attention, and a love of books. Be sure to use a lot of drama, excitement, emotion, and inflection as you read to hold their attention. And ask lots of questions as your read through the book.
Whether you’re a parent, grandparent, or caregiver, always keep books handy. My daughter encourages reading by letting my granddaughters take books in the car and to their naps and quiet times, rather than toys. She’s a wise mom, and the girls look forward to “reading” books anytime they can.
Put books in the car, in your bathroom, in every room of your house. And when a child says, “I’m bored,” respond with “read a book” to help them know that they never, ever need to be bored if there are books around.
Model the love of reading by letting your child see you read…and not just on technology. Let them see you hold a book, flip a magazine page, or read a paper. And then talk about what you’re reading. And if you’re reading on your Kindle, be sure to tell them you’re reading a book and share a little about it. They won’t know unless you tell them. Why would a child want to read if she never sees you read?
Make reading a social event. Go to the library or bookstore regularly. Take your child to the library’s story time, or start one yourself. In your mom’s group, be sure to include a reading time, or if you have a play date with other moms, take time to read a book. And don’t forget to give books as gifts.
Read constantly. Read signs, posters, billboards, menus, recipes, instructions. Play games as you’re driving, like “Who can find the letter “S”?” Give your child notes, even if she can’t read them yet. Write letters to her. Create a reading culture, and your child will learn to love the adventure of reading.
What are other ways to impart the love of reading? I’d love to know!
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