Parents often ask me what’s my “secret” to getting my kids fired up about books? My usual response is, “I introduced books to them at conception and they took the idea and ran with it.” Over the years, research has proven that there are indeed many advantages in reading to babies while they are in their mother’s womb. I will highlight these benefits in future blogs.
Meanwhile, today I would like to emphasize that although getting kids passionate about books begins at conception, keeping that passion alive extends way beyond that. The task doesn’t stop at conception; that is only the tip of the iceberg. What keeps them yearning for more has a lot to do with what we continue to do on a regular basis.
In essence, there is no “secret” but rather simple, practical things I do on a daily basis to keep my book kids’ reading momentum on an all time high. Here are six of them. Hope you will find them as beneficial as I have.
1. I surround my kids with books. Books are almost everywhere, within quick and easy reach in our home. More often than not, before they spot a toy or anything else, they’ve already spotted a book, mainly because books pretty much outnumber any single item in our home. It is not uncommon to hear my kids chanting, “Books in the chair, books on the shelf, books, books, books, everywhere! Books on my bed, books in my hand, books, books, books, everywhere!”
2. I carry books almost everywhere we go; even when it doesn’t seem convenient or practical, I carry them anyway, “just in case…” Nowhere is off limit when it comes to books. The moment I hear the phrase, “I’m bored,” I whip out a book from my bag or go and grab one from my car. That seems to do the trick every time.
3. I make every effort to read aloud to my kids daily. Although each one is capable of independent reading, I still continue to read to them. Not only does this serve as a mother-children bonding time, it also allows me to demonstrate and express my interest and enthusiasm for reading in a more tangible way.
4. I read often, and my love for reading has made a major impact on their reading habits. Kids have a funny way of ignoring what parents say and emulating what we do. Furthermore, research has proven that kids are more likely to become avid readers if their parents are. If reading is not your cup of tea or you don’t seem to have the time, let this be your motivation: Knowing that your little ones are closely observing and emulating your actions or inaction.
5. I take them to our local library at least once or twice a week. This has become a weekly family tradition. These visits provide many benefits for the kids, such as having a wide selection of books to choose from; experiencing a sense of independence in selecting their own books; and simply doing something we enjoy together as a family. Filling their library baskets with books brings as much joy as filling their Easter and Halloween baskets with candy. The kids love and look forward to these weekly trips.
6. I organize a monthly family book club with the older kids, where we pick a book of the month to read. On the last Saturday of each month we have a book club celebration that involves a book discussion and some snacks at the location of their choice, including home, library, or park. They love and look forward to this fun-filled family book event.
These have proven effective for my book kids throughout the years, and I hope they do for yours as well. Furthermore, we would love to hear about some of the things you do to keep your book kids fired up about books. Food for thought: If books are brain food, what are we doing to ensure that our kids’ brains are well fed? Please leave us your comments below.
By: Dawn Hoff, Book Kids