January 24, 2012
I have just read a great post by Beth Stilborn on encouraging children to become readers.
It can often be a difficult task in this day of multi media technology to get our children to sit still and immerse themselves in a book. There are so many choices for children today for easy entertainment, usually found in an electronic box with lots of bells and whistles. But these things do not encourage a child to explore new worlds nor do they fire a child’s natural curiosity and imagination. A book, on the other hand, gives a child the opportunity to be carried into far away places and to meet new and interesting characters. When we read, we picture people and places in a particular way. Each story has the ability to speak to us in different ways, to touch us emotionally, in ways that electronic game play can’t. Give your children the gift of a love of reading; buy them books, read books to them, let them see you not only reading, but taking joy and pleasure in reading.
I especially love the idea of linking children’s other interests with reading. Many a young boy will read books about dinosaurs, or cars, or superheroes. And girls will read about horses, or dancing, or dogs. Many children’s movies these days also have companion books which can further interest them in reading about beloved characters. Maybe your child loves picture books, or comics, or non-fiction; whatever their interest, look for ways encourage a love of reading, make it a joy, not a chore to be endured.
Older children will often be encouraged to read books that are linked to movies also; think ‘Twilight’ or John Marsden novels. One of my daughters (in her early 20’s) enjoys reading books by Candace Bushnell of ‘Sex and the City’ fame, even though she was never a reader as a child. And my son, who hated reading whilst at school, reads biographies of surfers, and fitness magazines. He is also determined to read regularly to his new daughter.
Despite my being an avid reader and lover of books, only one of my four children became an avid reader herself. The other three do read, but they certainly aren’t bookworms. My grandchildren, on the other hand, LOVE books. Whenever they come to visit me, they inevitably end up sitting on the couch with a pile of books each. My five year old grandson will even ‘read’ to his younger sister. It is lovely to see the enjoyment they get from books and the pride they take in learning to read and write.
If you want your children to be readers, be a reader.