Model the Joy of Books: Little Eyes are Watching

My little readers

I recently asked the staff that I work with to tell me their favorite childhood books.  I used the information to make a “School Favorites” Reading Wall in the library.  The children have been very enthused to learn the favorite books of their beloved teachers, principal, and secretary.  I found many of the books within our school library, and the children have been checking the books out this week.

 

To see the kids so excited made me think.:  how we as adults model reading may be more important than we realize.  Yes, my own kids see me read.  I’m a writer, so I’m a reader by nature, but I haven’t had many discussions with them about what I read when I was their age and were it not for my daily job in a library I wouldn’t be up on the newest  generation of favorite books available to my kids.   I’m trying to bridge the gap between old classics and new classics in my job, so shouldn’t I be doing that in my own family, too?  Shouldn’t we be having discussions about favorite characters and what type of plot keeps them wanting to read more?  I listen to their incessant chatter about what’s happening in the virtual world of this and that video game, so why can’t we have those conversations about books?
 Here is my to-do list:

 

1.  Read more to my children.  You can never be too old to be read aloud to.

2.  Read not for the mere sake of completing a homework assignment but for the joy that books can bring.

3.  Talk about the characters, plot, etc., what they like, what they don’t.

4.  Enforce electronic shut-off before bed, so reading time becomes a valued ritual.

 

What ideas can you add to model the importance of reading in your home?

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8 thoughts on “Model the Joy of Books: Little Eyes are Watching

  1. Excellent things to do in our home. We read out loud to our children, have them read to us, and (my favorite) take time to read silently as a family!! 😉 BUT… we don’t take much time to discuss the plot, characters, and opinions!! We will have to do that!! I completely agree with electronics do not go to bed… only a book!! Just recently my 10 year old’s teacher sent a note home saying the kids could bring their electronics to school for free time and play educational games. My 10 year old is unhappy that I’ve said no to that. She said then she would just have to read silently while “everyone else” is playing games at school! GASP!! What an idea! 😉

  2. All suggestions are good ones. I might tweak them a bit by having a regular reading time that’s “sacred,” non-negotiable, uninterrupted. I know that’s hard to do in a busy family with young children, but if you could establish a certain half-hour (or time appropriate for their ages) daily for reading and discussion, they would come to expect and honor this. Perhaps you already use bedtime in this way.
    You also might want to take pictures of your children reading (love the one you included today) and put them on their bulletin boards, the refrigerator door, places where they can see them often and attach importance to the activity of reading.
    If age permits, give them each a little reading diary (Forever Books has a lovely variety) in which they can jot down notes about their book. It can their contain drawings, words, a sentence, a paragraph, whatever, i.e., “That tiger looks scary,” “I like the way Harry Potter—-,” or a drawing of a favorite character or scene.
    Have a reading celebration every so often with decorations, refreshments, and of course lots and lots of books.
    Every once in a while have a “PJs and Books Day” if your schedule can handle it, say on a weekend day, and let your children stay in their pajamas all day. This could be combined with a reading celebration.
    Let them read in unusual places: in a tent, stretched out under a table with their favorite stuffed animal, under a tree (if it’s summer), on the deck, or let them make their own “special reading place.”
    Let them dress up as a favorite character.
    Keep a scrapbook of your children reading and doing activities related to reading. Each child should have his/her own. Just as they love hearing stories about themselves, they will come to love poring through their special reading scrapbooks. You can be creative and come up with great names for them. Decorate them to the hilt with your children’s interests, whether that’s Toy Story, Thomas the Tank Engine, Harry Potter, soccer, tee ball, pizza, big trucks, anything.
    If your children are emerging readers, keep a recipe box with 3×5 cards. Each card will have on it a word that (s)he gives you. You print it clearly, your child puts it in the box, and soon they will have many new words to read. I did this when I taught first grade. It was so successful, and the children had a blast.
    Sorry this is so long.

  3. My children LOVE when I read a book that they are reading or have read so we can discuss what is happening…what we think will happen…what we HOPE will happen!! There are many “teen reads” that I enjoy, too! 🙂

    Not only do I encourage my children to read for enjoyment, I also encourage them to use reading as a tool. If we watch a movie and there is an actor they think they’ve seen, I respond with, “Look up his/her bio.” It is fun to read about people.

    I’ve discovered that boys tend to favor informational text. My son prefers to read material related to what he’s interested in or needs to know. If he is preparing for campling, he will research tents, sleeping bags, hiking books, etc. for days. His reading seems to be fluid, purposeful and often involving electronics; however, reading online counts as reading in my book!

    • Reading online does count. My kids are even being “tricked” into reading more by using the kindle which mimics a video game in their eyes. Whatever works! Thanks for commenting.

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