Thursday, June 11, 2015

Raising Readers


Encouraging children to love reading is something I feel very strongly about. It is one of the best gifts I can give my child. This gift will bless them their whole life. It will give them a head start. A greater chance to thrive in school. I hope that I can share some ways we strive to raise readers in our home. I know that as we share ways to help our children everyone is blessed.

Start reading today.

Start reading to your children when they are babies. They will love listening to your voice. It will enrich their lives and teach them about language. Listen to the flow of your voice and the rhythms that can come with books will help their brains to develop more fully. It will help them learn more about their world. And it will encourage them to continue to read as they get older. For more benefits of reading to your newborn check out this quick article.
“Children whose parents read to them get a head start on language skills and literacy, as well as lovely cuddle time with Mom or Dad.” Nancy Shute
Nancy continues in this article about the importance of reading. Pediatricians are encouraging parents to start reading to their infants. I know it has helped enriched my children’s language. And it has started them on the path of being life long readers.


Have Books in your home.

I was so impressed when I read about this study. I have always tried to have a large variety of books for my children to read. I have been told often that I have too many books, which honestly I don’t think is ever possible. (I do rotate my books sometimes, especially children’s books) I have been trying to build my own personal library because I love to read. Though usually I just borrow books from the library or friends. Since having Gandalf I have been working hard on building our chapter books and classic books that will help all of my children. We need a copy of all the Percy Jackson books and Harry Potter books because all of my children are going to read them I am sure. After I have read this study I am trying even more to fill my home with good books in all varietys. I am hoping our next home we can get more book cases and have Grady’s office lined with books. And not just great children’s literature but all literature. Having a large variety will encourage my children to browse and try something off the shelf.

Go to the library.

It sounds simple enough. But it can get lost with busy schedules . And unfortunately we can’t afford all the books I want. But oh, how I wish that we could. But luckily for us we have libraries. Places we can go to get books for free. No home has to be empty of books. I love taking my kids to the library. I love seeing what books they pick out. Yoda really wanted the Amazing Almanac of American Women one time and I thought, “yeah, let’s totally get that book!” He also loves Lady Bug Girl books, which are amazing books. Sometimes that is the best way to stumble upon a great book. And I think it helps build their confidence and encourages them to grow up when they can choose their own book. I loved reading this article here. I loved the idea that a librarian could help my child in ways that I can’t. They could encourage him/her to branch out and find a whole new area of reading. Going to the library has blessed my family. It was one of the first things we did when we moved to Arizona. And I love how baby girl goes right towards the board books. Take your family to the library. You will be glad you did.


Make it part of your routine.

Children love having routines. They love knowing what will come next. One of the best things you can do to help your children go down for bedtime or even naps is have a routine. We read the scriptures, say our family prayers, brush our teeth and give kisses to baby sister and mom and dad. I usually like to read before nap time. Some times late at night my kids are so tired they don’t want to point to the dog, or say what a car says, or find the bug. I try and do my main reading with my young children before nap time. And it helps their bodies recognize that it is time for sleep. Every family is different. Do what is best for your family. Sometimes we have dad read to baby girl while I encourage the boys to get out of the shower, get on jammies, and everything else. He is gone all day long and deserves some one on one time. I love watching them read. And Grady loves that he can lay in his bed and snuggle with his girl.

Make reading part of your lives
To really help encourage a love for literature we talk about books in our family nights. Just last night we talked about examples in books of those who have shown great faith. And not necessarily  in spiritual matters. But we liken the stories and characters unto a principal. I love celebrating Harry Potter’s Birthday and making these yummy treats. One time overhead Gandalf tell Draco, “ Harry Potter isn’t real!” and Draco responded, “Then why does mom celebrate his birthday?” I love that Draco believes Harry is real.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?”

Harry Potter comes alive because we love his story. We have wands and I have made robes. We have our birthday parties based on of books. I love that my family loves to read and wants to extend that love into their birthday parties. We have dressed up as book characters for Halloween. We watch the movies only after we have read the books. We do crafts and make recipes out of books that we love. We eat Green Eggs and Ham every Read Across America Day. We read as a family. And celebrate reading as a family.


Let your children see you reading.

I know some adults feel like it is a waste of time to read for pleasure when we have so many tasks to complete. I disagree, maybe even to a fault.  What better way to show your children that you too receive delight from a great book than to not want to put it down. One time my friend’s daughter stopped by my house back when I just had Gandalf. I was in my Pj’s reading a book. She went home and told her mom she wanted to be a mom like me when she grew up. She wanted to read in her pajamas all day long. My friend already had 4 kids and her afternoons were spent driving her kids to practices and managing homework. I loved the stage where I could read while Gandalf playing nicely with his toys. Now you don’t catch me reading as often when my children are awake. But I do love when they catch me reading. I am at the stage where afternoons are filled with practices, scouts, and homework. I try and bring my books to the park, to the long line to pick up my kids from choir or school. They see me get books from the library as well. Sometimes they will even make comments about the cover or title. And just to make sure they know that I really enjoy books we will talk about the books we read over dinner. I will tell them a little bit about the plot. I leave out war or trials I am not ready for them to know about. But it gives my husband and I a chance to share something we love with them. And let them know that reading is important, no matter how old you are.

Read out loud together.

There is something about reading a story together. I have to admit. My husband is better at reading chapter books than me. He does a much better job at the voices. But I still think I am better at picture books. I have a flow that I use and inflection at certain points that makes the story more fun. And I must admit, I am not the best at this area of reading out loud to them. I can only read a chapter at a time. I do enjoy listening to audio books together. Especially when we are traveling to California. I love hearing my boys crack up in the back row. Or Gandalf say, “No, listen Draco, this next part is so funny.” I love that we can share stories. Lately we have enjoyed Percy Jackson, Narnia Series, How to train your Dragon Series, and other great books. We just listened to The Giver. I haven’t read that since 6th grade. I forgot about some of the parts (another good reason to read them together) My boys loved the book! I have a friend who read all the Harry Potter books together out loud. When the last one came out she was concerned they might want to read it themselves. But she was happy they didn’t. What a great memory, to have listened and cried (I am assuming they cried together) with their mom and brothers. Sharing books strengthens your relationship as well. I can’t wait to read chapter books with baby girl! And I love that my children love Harry Potter! It’s so rewarding to experience again through their eyes.

Dads read too.

Sometimes children don’t see their dads read. They work hard all day and when they do come home it’s time for dinner and time to talk with their children. I love this article about the importance of fathers reading to their children, especially their sons. And I love this dads take on why it’s so important. I am so thankful for a husband who reads to my children. And with three sons I want my boys to grow up knowing books are for boys too. I also love when Grady wants to share his passions through reading. He loves reading the kids Star Wars books. And he is way more qualified to answer any questions regarding the galaxy than me. I love seeing him read Fancy Nancy in a ridiculous French accent. And reading books one might consider feminine to our daughter and sons. This post here also gives some great tips for dads reading to their kids.

Reward your children with books.

My mom was really great about this one. She would reward us for doing something by getting a book when the book fair came to our school. Or she would take us to Barnes and Noble and I couldn’t wait to get another Sweet Valley High book. I would read it right away. And try to read during dinner. I love that kind of reading!! Where you can’t put it down. My little sister will sometimes take my boys to Barnes and Noble and get them a book. Being able to pick out a book as a child is such a treat. We usually only give our kids 4 gifts at Christmas and one of those is always a book.

Summer is a great time to rekindle your love of reading. We love listening to books late at night without the worry of getting up the next morning. Make reading even more fun by building a fort or a book nook. Barnes and Noble and libraries are so great at encouraging reading through the summer. I try to encourage my nieces to read during the summer because sometimes they have so much to read for school during the rest of the year. It’s a great time to stress reading for FUN! I hope I was able to share some thing new that will help you raise readers. I would love to hear any other tips for raising readers. Or you can share your favorite book!

Happy Reading!!!

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