Monday, March 7, 2016

Raising Book Lovers

"I just don't have time to read", said a coworker to me one day. I was totally shocked. How does a person get to a place in life without books in hand? I am wondering if it comes from a childhood where books were about school requirements, rather than enjoyment, or from a lack of parental modeling. Perhaps it's from an inability to read in short spurts - you know, needing a huge block of time to do a book in one sitting. Who has 6 hours at a shot to read a book in its entirety? A love of reading comes from a lifetime of listening, observing, cuddling, encouragement, discussion, and challenges to read on our own.

When my son went off to college, I was amused to find out that one of the first things he did was go to the public library to get a card so he could check out books. Apparently textbooks weren't enough. He really did have a social life! He was on the ultimate frisbee team and also enjoyed hanging out with friends, but always enjoyed a good science fiction.

Books take you places. Books challenge you to think beyond your own universe. Books increase your knowledge, your vocabulary, your overall intellect. How sad to stop reading when you are an adult! So how do we teach our children to love books?

By reading aloud to them every day! I am convinced that reading aloud is crucial to proactive parenting. Infants enjoy board books so have plenty of them around. Toddlers enjoy nursery rhymes and other books that they can grab and plop in your lap. If you have an antsy toddler that just won't sit still you can read to them in short spurts as they are eating lunch in their high chairs, or in the bathtub, or right before they go to sleep. My son, at 18 months, loved the Richard Scarry books, especially Cars, Trucks and Things That Go. He had it totally memorized and would sit in the window of our Kansas home and name the farming vehicles that would go down the road. We read that book until it fell apart. Every time I'd go to sit down, plop - that book was in my lap. I was so sick of that book!

My one daughter was a reluctant reader but she became interested in the Little House on the Prairie books. So I would read a chapter aloud to her and she'd say, "Read the next chapter, PLEASE!!" I would say, "No, you read it to yourself and then I'll come back and you can tell me what happened." So because she was dying to know what happened next, she would read it and tell me what it was about. I'd reward her by reading aloud the next chapter. Pretty soon she was reading the whole book to herself.

My friend, Heather Woodie, homeschool mother of four and popular blogger, has written a couple of posts that you might find helpful on this subject:

If reading aloud to your children is a daily thing in your home, I guarantee you will have young adults who love to read and love to learn. I read aloud to my kids until they left for college. Yes, even at age 18 they still enjoyed being read to. Their ability to listen was way past my skill at their age. I remember checking out when my sixth grade teacher was reading The Boxcar Children out loud to the class. Everyone laughed at one part and I jolted out of my daydream wondering what was so funny. As a young adult I had trouble totally tuning in to a preacher's sermon. Gradually I've learned to increase my auditory skills by listening to the radio more, but thankfully, my young adult children are better listeners.

Probably the best thing that happens when you read out loud is the relationship that develops between you and your children. You snuggle, you laugh, you talk together. Now as a family with young adult children we talk about the latest books we've been reading.

And now....
This week I don't have a refashion for you. But if you're interested in viewing my latest project, check out my pattern review page.