HOW WE ARE RAISING READERS-INFANT AND BEYOND

“One of the greatest gifts adults can give–to their offspring and to their society-is to read to children. -Carl Sagan 

The girls’ reading journey began when they were in utero.  After reading a study about the importance of reading to babies before birth, I read to them regularly. 

I’m a reader, as is my husband, and we hope that our children will enjoy reading as much as we do.  We know how important reading is and that reading, for enjoyment, is on the decline.  Having been homeschooled, and planning on homeschooling the girls, we knew reading was going to be extremely important.  If you’ve read any of my posts on homeschooling, you’ve seen how important a book can be.  It can lead to so many more learning opportunities.

Once they were home from the hospital, at just a few days old, we continued reading to them. While we don’t read them fantasy, there’s little else we don’t read together. We read chapter books, poetry, children literature, news, board books, and more. If I want to read something, and I’m holding them, I read it out loud. The important thing was the act of reading to them, not so much that I was reading them a “children’s book”. Even now, if I’m reading and they want to cuddle, we read the book together.

We have a pretty solid daily routine and reading is very much a part of it. For 10 months we would spend 15-45 minutes reading after they nurse. Lately, they’ve been more interested in movement. They immediately want down to explore their environment. At first, I was concerned that their reading days were behind them. I was also a little surprised, these are my babies to whom I’ve read to, practically, since conception.

Then I was reminded, that I need to trust the child. Follow their led and respect their process and needs. The girls stared to point and reach for books from their shelf. It’s not that they didn’t want to read, they just wanted to at different times. So we sit on their couch and read the books they’ve chosen. They still love reading, and for the same amounts of time as before, but now, they just prefer to do it after some movement.

Once T, now ten years-old, got older and started to read on his own, I started including him. He would point and read the words that he recognized when we got to them. We would take turns reading to each other either, every other page or paragraph. When he started to lose interest, we found other activities that involved reading; we baked more and built small kits (like a birdhouse) that required the reading of instructions. When he asked a question, instead of just supplying an answer, we looked it up. I would ask him questions, usually about superheroes as that was what he enjoyed, that would make him want to learn more, “I just realized there are four different Ages of comics, like the Silver Age. Do you know what they all are and the differences?” We found books on topics that would interest him. We made the library an enjoyable experience and let him pick out his own books. It took a little effort, but now when he sees the girls, he enjoys reading to them.

The most important things we do, regardless of age, is have them see us read.

“Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.”  -Albert Schweitzer

  • Start reading prior to birth.
  • Read regularly. 
  • Read a variety of materials. 
  • Let them see you reading, be the example.
  • Read topics that they find interesting.
  • Include them.
  • Do activities that require reading.

Are you raising readers? Does your family have favourite books they are continuously drawn to?

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