Learning to Appreciate Books and Reading

Learning to Appreciate Books and Reading
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As parents, we are bombarded with advice on educating our children; homeschooling, public school, private school, or tutoring. It's an endless debate that we all participate in at some point. However, I think we can all agree on one thing: we want our children to have an appreciation for reading and literature. This can prepare them for college, working and life in general. So, how do we accomplish this?

Starting Early

When you are pregnant, and friends and family start planning showers or asking about gifts, be sure to ask for a lullaby book, a book of rhymes and a few of those indestructible cloth and plastic books for babies. As you go through those months of waiting for the birth of your baby, practice lullabies and recite the rhymes. That little one in your womb will love the vibration of your voice and you will get some needed practice.

Memories of childhood

Children need to be around books. The memories associated with stories they loved will be with them for a lifetime. Kids need to learn that books are special. You can do this by teaching them to take care of their books. If you see them writing in one gently but firmly tell them "no". When they are older, talk with them about putting their books on a special shelf or drawer in their room. Make the books accessible, and trust them to take care of them. When my children were infants, I would show them how to turn pages and "help"them read. You will build a foundation for the love of reading before they even grasp what it is.
Start a reading journal for them when they are young and they can finish it themselves when they become older. This will give them a record of those treasured stories that they can later share with their own children. There are blank books available that you can use to record your children's reading adventures. As your kids get older encourage them to write a little about each book and why they liked it. I can't tell you how many adults have emailed me hoping I can help them figure out a book they remember from their childhood. A reading journal will become a wonderful and useful keepsake for your children.

You will find that you can quickly gather a collection of children's literature by shopping at garage sales, thrift stores, finding deals on the internet and asking family to buy books instead of toys! You may have to encourage this with family members, but it's worth it. My kids love getting books at birthdays and holidays. I've involved both sets of Grandparents in looking out for secondhand books also, and we have a wonderful collection!

Setting an example

The best thing we can do as parents is set examples for our children. If they see us reading, and enjoying books they will want that too. My parents were avid readers during my childhood. We went to the small library in our town each week, and we had books and encyclopedias at home that were always fascinating to us. We loved reading! When I became older I realized that not everyone was a "reader". When parents don't set an example children often grow up with no interest in books. Children need to see that reading is fun, and not a chore or something to be dreaded.

Scheduled Story Time

Set up story times for your children. My children and I always read before bedtime. Every night, no exceptions. If time is tight for some reason, we choose a small book. Your story time needs to be a special time that is never pushed aside. When they are older they can take turns reading too. I believe this is a tradition that will make an impression on your children. It is a special time they will never forget. Story telling is an art every parent can learn. If you read in monotone, too fast or too slow, kids lose interest. Read like you would want to be read to! Babies should also be included during story time from the time they are brought home from the hospital. Don't go into a separate room to read; let everyone be together for this family time! Our daughter wasn't quite a year old when we found her sitting alone with a book, turning the pages and making noises as if she was reading!

We have all heard the expression "comfort food". Wouldn't it be nice if your children grew up and had "comfort books" that they could share with their own children? We can create memories of books and literature that will follow them through their lives. Why not start your reading journal today?

Recommended Reading

Lullabies : An Illustrated Songbook

by Richard Kapp (Editor)

Count on Me : 10 Books in a Box

by Alice Provensen

Read-Aloud Rhymes for the Very Young

by Jack Prelutsky (Editor), Marc Tolon Brown (Illustrator)

My Peter Rabbit Cloth Book (A Beatrix Potter Cloth Book)

by Beatrix Potter

About the Author

Brenda Hyde is a Mom of three, a freelance writer and editor of the six newsletters here at Seeds of Knowledge. For information on subscribing Click here

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About The Author

Brenda Hyde is a freelance writer living on ten acres in rural Michigan with her husband and three kids. She is a mom, grandma, gardener, cook and writer. She blogs on all of these topics at Harvestmoongazette.blogspot.com.


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