As a parent you often wonder if you are doing it right, making the right decisions. Parenting is just difficult. There is one thing though that I'm pretty confident we have done right in our house- reading. Reading has always been a priority in our house, and our son has grown tremendously from it. He was late to talk and I attribute his learning to talk to homemade books. Now at three and a half years old, despite other developmental delays, he is learning to read and write a little on his own. So here are 14 tips on how you might raise a reader in your own home.
|Reading in the NICU, which I did everyday (this is just after his birth)|
|Reading at bedtime|
3. Be persistent- During certain stages in development, or if starting out reading later in life, children may be a little resistant to reading. Before my son could move, he had to sit to read, but when he began to move independently, I could not get him to sit for even a simple board book. He simply couldn't stay still that long. I was frustrated, but I continued to read to him every day. First, he could only sit for one sentence, then one page, then one book, until now he regularly sits for five or six books.
|Reading with sick snuggles|
|Laughing at the funny voices I'm using for the characters in this book|
Layne's bookshelf and reading a book on his birthday
8. Fill their bookshelf- If you don't have books around, they can't be read. I think it is a necessary investment in having children to make them their own collection of books. If you're tight on money, free books can be easily found (try the library, friends with children, community garage sales and free piles).
Reading with Pappy and reading in the car (Erin, if you're reading, you gave him both of these, and they are both among his absolute favorites! Good choices!)
9. Bring books everywhere- Books are a great way to pass the time and quietly entertain children when out of the house. Stash some in the car and bring them when going to a relative's house, doctor's appointments, and vacations. At Pappy' house, books are a lifesaver to calm our son down and have some special time between family. They are also a lifesaver during the long waits in between appointments at Children's Hospital.
|Looking at my first homemade book with all of his first words|
11. Use books to make connections- Books are the main tool in our house for teaching. Stories tend to explain abstract concepts (like honesty, loyalty, empathy, etc.) in a way that is much more accessible to children. Our son really loves making connections between what he reads in books to the real world- this was the next step (after homemade books) to teaching him to talk. When they make connections, not only does it help to solidify that idea, but it also encourages them to read more. It also teaches them that books are a wonderful place to go to learn about the world.
12. Avoid overly simple or baby talk- People often use these books for small children. I despise these books. Books are a tool for teaching, among other things, how to talk. If I do not want my child to talk in overly simple baby talk, I shouldn't be reading it to him. Besides, these are usually the ones that will drive you mad, and there are so many wonderful children's books without such language that these are not necessary.
|Opening book about Planes, a gift on Christmas|
|Excitedly opening a few Dr. Seuss books at his 3rd birthday party|
|Reading Happy Birthday To You after his birth (and a little recovery time), which we now do every year|
Layne and I reading together, and Layne reading by himself.
I hope this has given you ideas to get your children reading! You have only one life, but through literature, you can experience the lives of many.