As a parent and a former teacher who desperately wants to build my kids' love of reading, I oftentimes find myself overwhelmed with advice. What should we be doing to build a strong foundation for them? Are we making rookie mistakes? I've boiled down my observations and experiences as a parent and an educator into these five rules to read by for our home... so I do not kill their love of reading. So far, so good.
- Get Rid of Labels. I used to think my littlest one didn't like to read, and I told people she wasn't "as into reading as her brother," when she was only a toddler! In her case, it was simple... I hadn't yet found the right book she loved. From the moment she opened I Know a Lot, she was hooked! Turned out, that was her gateway into being completely obsessed with reading. Now, she is going through a series of little book obsessions. Of course, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, and many more. I've committed to dropping any labels, and instead, trying many different tacts. In the U.S., it's widely acceptable to say, "I'm just not a math person." While it's not acceptable to say, "I'm not a reading person," parents often tell me, "Well, he's really good at math. He's just not that into reading." Enough! Being good at one thing doesn't preclude enjoying another... being good at math most certainly isn't what might have someone (usually boys) into reading. Not that into reading? Keep trying! Stop labeling our kids, and instead start figuring out what they love, what interests them... and make reading the vehicle to learn more about it.
So tonight, I'll sit down to read Brown Bear, Brown Bear for the ten thousandth time, invite our kids to play around our room while I finally get to read today's paper, and do my very best ninja moves to go along with another ninja book for our newly obsessed 4-year old son. Just another day at the home office!
What are you doing to inspire a love of reading in your home?