This is not a how-to post. I can’t be that mom. I can’t take credit because most of the time I’m far less intentional than I intend to be. (Yes, pun intended.)
But there’s this amazing thing that’s happened in my family:
My kids love books. And I love them for that. (And for many, many other reasons, of course. But this reason is special.)
My daughter, the second grader, is now reading “big kid” chapter books with gusto. She even noticed that the book she’s reading is a New York Times Bestseller. Since when did she know what a New York Times Bestseller is? Tonight she informed me that she is going to write a “chapter book.” She completed the first chapter, too. (At this rate she’ll have her manuscript finished before I do.)
My son, the kindergartner, is dying to be able to read. Today he got in trouble at school, so he had to lose a privilege. I let him choose between TV time, dessert, or bedtime books. He informed me that he could not give up bedtime books because we had to read the next chapter in his Ninjago book. It was an Oscar moment. Give the boy a trophy, folks! He chose books! (He picked dessert as the thing he lost for the night. That’s a big deal if you know my son.)
There was no formula. I didn’t work too hard at teaching them letters and sounds. I didn’t help them practice enough on sight words. I didn’t make all the little games I made for my students. I should have, but I slacked.
My only goal was to expose them to books. We started reading to the kids at bedtime when they were babies. We read our books in front of the kids. Especially me. Did you see my list of books from this summer? We buy them books (along with toys) at birthdays and Christmas. We take them to bookstores. We take them to the library. We let them chose books that they like (even when I feel like I’ll throw up if I have to buy one more Barbie book). I wish they’d read more of the classics I loved, but they are a new generation. They are iPods and smart phones and texting. They are Apps and Kindles and computer games.
Yet even with access all that technology stuff, they love books.
One day, my daughter will read a book that affects her forever. A character she falls in love with. A theme that speaks to her life. A crisis that uncannily reflects her own. A line that etches itself in her mind forever.
One day, my son will find a character he wants to be like. He’ll read about an adventure and start planning his own. He’ll find a hero to inspire him. That one book that he always remembers.
How do you get your kids to adore books?
I personally believe that our children love to read because we’ve always read to them and around them. Both Mark and I have been able to stay away from a computer screen long enough to hold a book — and yes, we both have kindles and enjoy books there, too. But I think that when it comes to inspiring children to read, paper pages are the best! Reading the Bible is the most important because the Words found there are a true blessing to the heart and life and I believe they encourage children to read the Bible for themselves and other books as well. Also reading to your child and then when they get into school, discussing what they’re reading and what you’re reading and then when they get older and you have read some of the same works — in our case: Heart of Darkness, Farenheit 451, Hamlet, (Natalie and Mark discussed these over the last few years and more than these!)
Congratulations Karissa! You and Stephen are doing a great job! God bless you!
I love this post because I love all the reading my kids are doing right now. AJ, as you know, cannot read yet. He wants to read! He says he is practicing and repeats after me, or in books he has memorized he asks to read the lines of his favorite characters! We recently found him hiding in the bathroom reading at 10 pm! Its awesome (and frustrating at the same time). I love what you shared about your daughter reading the Psalms. One of my favorite things right now is that Samantha can read her evening prayers. Its slows us down to digest the words and she feels better with her participation. We are trying to read some of the suggested books for Read20, the program Crissy Haslam started…this month’s read aloud is a little old for my kids but I think I am going to pick it up.