This topic has been on my mind a great deal lately. My oldest just finished Kindergarten, so she’s beginning to put words and sentences together as she reads. At times, it’s frustrating as she doesn’t remember words she just read etc. But, she’s catching on, and I work with her to help her fluency.
I think, though, the biggest factor that contributes to my thoughts about this is working at a school. I see kids who are in third grade who haven’t mastered the basics and have little to no interest in reading. It breaks my heart, because to me, they’re missing out on magical worlds, adventures, traveling across time, the world, or the universe to places they would never see in their lifetimes.
These low literacy kids are missing out.
Making sure my kids read has always been a high priority for me, not just because I love to read, but because reading sets them up for life. In fact, many high profile figures attribute their success to their love of reading. Presidents like Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and so many more. In fact, some presidents’ reading habits made up for their lack of formal education, like George Washington!
Other figures include: Lebron James, who read to calm himself before every game. Actresses like Jennifer Lawrence who reads on set, and Emma Watson who took time off acting to focus on personal development through reading! And of course, you cannot forget Oprah Winfrey, who has a rags to riches tale that she accredits to the love of reading her father instilled in her, and now has one of the biggest book clubs in the world where she hopes to influence others to love reading as well.
The love of reading can start at any point, but it needs to start with me. Us. Parents. From the time my girls were babies I’d read from board books to them. They’d look at the pictures and hear me read the words to them. I believe their strong language skill development at early ages has a great deal to do with that. But that time is also mommy time. A time where they can snuggle with me, interact with me, and feel loved by me. I’m focused entirely on them as I read. And so, they associate love and affection with reading.
I have this graph from working as an Usborne consultant that works well to demonstrate the power of reading to your child:
Reading is attributed to improving success in life. Reading a book a month, both of fiction and non-fiction,can greatly increase chances of success. It opens the mind, stimulates the imagination, pours in knowledge. I heard a quote somewhere, I don’t know who said it, but it went something like:
“A literate man who doesn’t read is no better off than an illiterate one.”
I think the another thing that has made a big influence on helping my kids love to read, is my own love of reading. They see me with my kindle or a novel all the time. Whether at home, or in my handbag, wherever I am, I always have reading material. Even while driving I play audio books. They see me loving books, and they are influenced by that. As their mother, they look to me for direction and guidance. I hear them repeat things I say, and at times it’s a huge wake up call because I don’t like hearing them talk in ways that I have done. It’s the same with reading.
My last thing that I’ve noticed has helped my oldest is reading scripture together every morning. She gets to read a verse of her own choosing, and I’ve noticed she can read more and more words each time. She loves our scripture reading time too, and when we’re running late, she pouts about missing it in the car.
As time goes by, I hope to really embed in my children the love of reading. Books can open their lives up to so many paths, and I want them to have choices and the freedom to be what they so choose. Which is why teaching the love of reading is one of my top priorities for raising my kids.