A book is a garden carried in the pocket.
Reading is one of the most magical and useful skills we can teach our children. It allows us to be productive, competent, and informed citizens. It also gives us the freedom to learn anything our hearts desire. It is an outlet to escape real life and visit imaginary worlds. Through reading, we can gain insight to what others think and feel.
One of my hopes as a parent, is for my children to love the written word. I'm confident they will learn how to read, that is almost a given in today's society. But will my children have a passion to seek out written media in their spare time?
My husband, Paul, has that passion. Frequently I find him reading news on the internet or perusing the newspaper. He loves to end a day by devouring a good book. The ultimate relaxing activity for him is a book and a bath.
I read tons, but somehow I lack Paul's level of passion. Sure, I love a good book when I have the time and the energy. I love being able to search for information on any topic at any time, thank you internet. I know I am a lifelong learner. The difference between Paul and myself, is I don't make the time like he does. I don't frequent the news sites throughout the day, yes, I'm hanging my head in shame. I don't reserve energy at the end of the day to read the novel I've been picking at for months.
Now don't get me wrong, I'm not devoid of reading desires. Obviously, I'm reading. There are stacks of child development books that I've read several times and continue to thumb through seeking advice. Novels line our bookshelves, some I've read, most I hope to read. And well, I read numerous blogs each day. But most importantly, I read to my children. I read to them before nap time, before bed, and during play time. I hope to instill a passion for reading in my children.
A house without books is like a room without windows. No man has a right to bring up children without surrounding them with books.... Children learn to read being in the presence of books.
Paul and I surround our children with books. Cloth books and board books fill the shelves in the downstairs play area, as well as the upstairs bedrooms. We keep the paper books that easily tear in a basket upstairs, utilizing them especially at nap and bedtimes. Frequently, I find Ian or Laurel surrounded in piles of books they have taken down from the shelves, flipping through the pages of the one that catches their interest. It delights me that they play with books.
Is there room for improvement? Absolutely! Jennifer, at her blog Snapshot, challenges all child care providers to set an attainable goal in reading with children. Here are some goals for our family:
- *Once upon a time, we would go to the library about once a week. Since the holidays, we have not gone. YIKES! I'm setting the goal for us to visit the library once a week.
- *Laurel tends to be too tired to read with us just before bedtime. I would like to make sure she gets to hear a couple books before falling asleep. I am going to set the goal of starting her nighttime activities with reading books instead of trying to do it just before she goes to sleep.
- *When I taught, I read The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease. Based on research, he gives reasons for reading to/with our children, along with tips and recommended book lists for different aged children. I want to reread his book, and will be checking it out at the library (hopefully it's available) when we go this week.
We shouldn't teach great books; we should teach a love of reading.
-B. F. Skinner
-B. F. Skinner