Bookworms, part 2 – a family thing

Since it’s “Booking Through Thursday,” it seemed like the appropriate time to put this up.

This is probably another “preaching to the choir” item, but hey, “reading” is the first of the 3 R’s, so here’s a post from about making reading a family pastime.

I’m lucky to come from, and be part of, a reading family, and this post has some very good suggestions about how to keep that going.

It’s possible that, adding together all the webpages, advertisements, in-game storyboards, and other bits and pieces of text that surround us, kids are reading as much as or even more than they were in the pre-digital era. But with reading, it’s not just raw figures that counts: it’s the quality of experience that’s being missed out on. Reading books teaches comprehension and vocabulary, certainly, but it also teaches the pleasures of slowly-building anticipation, the importance of lingering and reviewing to draw new meanings and connections, the projection of self into imagined worlds of our own making.

Some ideas for building that experience:

Take (kids) to the library, and get them their own library cards. (These two items worked very well with my sister and me.)
Read with them, and discuss amongst yourselves. Ask your librarian if they have “family packs” (usually several copies of a book plus a reading guide), or if you can check out multiple copies of the same book. Have each member of the family, or at least a couple of you, read the same book at the same time. This way, you can discuss it, ask questions, and generally help your child get the most out of their reading. (It’s like a family book club!)
Ask older kids to read to younger kids. (Obviously, this won’t work with an only child, but my stepdaughter enjoyed reading to her little brother when they were both a few years younger.)
Don’t disparage other activities. Make reading compete against video games, and you’ll lose. Reading a book isn’t a substitute for TV, XBox, or FaceBook; it’s its own thing, with its own rewards. Encourage a healthy balance of activities, reading among them.

To some extent, I feel that readers are born, not made, but I may be wrong if you can get an early enough start. In any case, though, they can and must be nurtured.

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  1. I grew up with a mother who did all of the above, and I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have gotten half as far as I have if I hadn’t. I don’t have kids myself and I can’t seem to get the ferrets to stay still long enough to read, but if I could I would : )!

  2. Pam – Ferrets? I thought they were weasels :-). It would be pretty cool if they could read, though.

    I can’t imagine not being a reader, but I agree that it really helps to grow up in a family where it matters.