Celebrating reading: Naturally

I love reading. Always have. There’s something about finding a good book and not being able to put it down that lifts myahoobadgey life into relaxation.

Its part of the reason I became a teacher. When asked why I wanted to teach, I would respond: I want to teach kids how to take the words they know to make beautiful pictures and stories. I want to teach them to use what they’ve learned to enter new worlds and experiences.

When I met the Huz, he didn’t read. Much. Unless it was related to financial matters or studying for the CPA exam. I knew I couldn’t change him, but I knew I could encourage him to enjoy life through books like I did. It took a while: studying for the CPA exam takes up a lot of reading time. But he saw me reading each night before I went to sleep, he experienced me getting lost in a book at the beach and pool,  and, before a vacation several years ago, finally asked me to suggest some books for him. Since then, every time he has a book to read, I’ve noticed he’s more relaxed. Books do that.

Of course I wanted to help my children embrace reading as much as I do and, luckily, its been easy. The kids went through the usual steps: gnawing and drooling on books, reaching out and feeling the pictures, pushing pages, turning pages (Little is at this point now), making up stories and words to go with pictures, and listening. Listening. Listening. Listening.

There has never been a time the kids have pushed away books–primarily because we’ve been role models. They know we read. They know we love to. Every room in our house has a table with a book on it. And we welcome times to sit quietly and read. We read in bed, on couches, while breastfeeding (okay, only I do that), in the car, on the toilet. We even read during potty training to make the process easier and more calm.

Actually, the only time we’ve noticed hesitation toward books and reading is when its pushed. I’m a big believer in letting the kids read when they’re ready. There’s absolutely no reason for a child to read first in his class. If he does, great. But if he doesn’t he’s not going to be any further behind in the end. Everyone will learn to read on his own time.

I see parents pushing reading with flashcards and software programs. While its fine to present them to kids and let the kids know they’re available, its not okay to make them learn until they want to.

Reading is supposed to be fun. As the NBA says, its “FUNdamental”. Reading is fun.  But only if you suggest it as so. When parents make reading a job, its reflected as such in their children’s attitudes.

But I digress. Around here we each have our own books. We read series. We read novels. We read board books. We read as a group and we read on our own. We are always welcome to grab a book, and if we’re caught reading we’re offered quiet time. (In other words, when Big or Middle grabs a book and settles in to read, everyone is reminded that he is focusing on the book and to please leave him alone.) Reading happens everywhere. And in my home, that’s how it should be.

 

This post was written in response to the Yahoo! Mother Board’s topic for March 2010: Celebrating Reading. Check out all my Y! Motherboard’s friends responses to this topic.

For more information on ways you can introduce and celebrate reading in your home, check out

mom of 3 and wife living in the Philadelphia suburbs, Julie is a former elementary school teacher and a Public Relations manager. She is the owner/editor of Julieverse, a merchandiser with Chloe + Isabel (jewelryverse.com) and founder VlogMom and Splash Creative Media. A marketing strategist and freelance education and parenting writer by trade, Julie attempts to carve out time to enjoy playing with her kids, PTO, cooking and exercise.

© 2010, Julie Meyers Pron. All rights reserved.

Comments

  1. says

    Books are a great source of relaxation and escapism. I hope that they will help inspire my daughter’s imagination as she grows older. Thanks for the great post!

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