When I was eight years old my mother read ‘The Lion the Witch and The Wardrobe’ to me and my siblings. We were enchanted! She was a good reader, and the story was pure magic. My mother knew she was onto something, and shortly after that she took us to the library and encouraged us to choose any books we wanted. You can imagine how psyched I was when I discovered that there was a whole series of books in ‘The Chronicles of Narnia.’
My mother got us hooked on reading by introducing us to a great story. All I wanted after that was to keep the dream alive, to find more books that would satisfy my itch for fantasy stories. Around that time, I was also diagnosed with ADHD. My clever mother and 3rd grade teacher convinced me that I was an exceptional reader and needed extra classes to explore my gift. The ruse worked. I began to see myself as a major reader, and by the time I was twelve I was ready to write my own books. (see my blog on ADHD here)
So, how do you get your children interested in the world of reading? Often, the best encouragement to do anything is to see others you respect and admire engrossed in that activity. If you want your children to read, then you should take the lead and read. This can include reading to them, as my mother did. Added bonus, your child gets your undivided attention, something I always craved as a kid.
Sometimes a positive dose of peer encouragement can inspire a young reader. As a parent you could start a book club with your child’s friend group. When we were kids, my mother started an art class in our kitchen for my friends who were interested in learning to paint. Before long, the whole neighborhood got into the act.
Accessibility and props help. My mother was so encouraging of my reading that she put a nightlight over my bed so I could read all night long. How is that for a bribe?
However you do it, giving your children the gift of reading will pay dividends. Good readers are open to worlds beyond their borders and tend to be more curious about their neighbors. Good readers can become good writers, and it certainly helps with critical thinking.
We love stories. We believe stories make the world a more interesting and magical place. We hope you do too!