Do you remember the first book you fell in love with? Mine was Cannery Row, by John Steinbeck. I never get tired of that book. I can’t tell you how many times I read it as a kid. It made me want to become a writer…of all things. (You’d think it would make me want to become a marine biologist.)
Books are good for us. A well-crafted story can take us away from the stress we deal with on a daily basis. Reading strengthens our imagination and broadens our vocabulary. My oldest daughter is a voracious reader. In the last 4 months, she’s read 8 novels. Fantasy is her favorite genre. Just this morning she was talking about someone she saw at school and used the word ‘clad’ correctly in her sentence. What ten-year-old says clad? Makes me want to read more just to keep up with her.
When was the last time you read a book just for fun? This month is the perfect time to dive into one—October is National Book Month. While you’re at it, encourage your kids to read as well. Looking for a way to spark your child’s interest in reading? Here are a few suggestions:
Let Your Kids See You Reading
Don’t just read in your quite place. Kids mimic the things they see their parents do. If Mommy or Daddy does it, it must be cool.
Share What You Read With Your Kids
Let them see that reading brings you fulfillment. If you’re reading the newspaper, tell them what you’re reading about. If it’s a gripping spy novel, let them see your excitement about the story.
Read books with them
This should be the first item on this list. Reading with your kids sparks their interest in reading and it’s therapeutic for you. It forces you to stop and hold your child on your lap. Do it as often as you can. They only fit there for so long. Reading to children, even before they can talk, helps them recognize and develop the patterns of speech at an early age.
Although my oldest daughter loves reading alone, she still likes it when I read to her. We’re finishing the last book of the Unicorn Chronicles series by Bruce Coville together. We’ve loved spending time together in the story, and talking about what we think might happen next. She picked the book, but she let me read it to her. She likes it when I read because I read more quickly and add fun annunciation and dynamics that enhance the story.
Show Interest in What Your Children Read
When your older kids pick up a book, get excited about the things they read and be genuine about it. Ask about the characters in the book. I usually grab their books and start reading in the middle (to myself of course, I’ve been yelled at enough for ruining the suspense). But it shows that I’m interested. It helps to have really good books too. Look for Newbery Award winners. Usually, a quality book will be good enough to hold your child’s interest as well as your own.
All of these things help develop and encourage young readers in your home, and it will help them in their schooling too. So take advantage of National Book Month and start reading again, just for the fun of it.