Raising A Lifelong Reader

reading on the beachNeither books nor people have Velcro sides- we don’t naturally attach to each other. In the beginning there must be a bonding agent – parent, relative, neighbor, teacher, or librarian – someone who attaches child to book.

Jim Trelease The Read Aloud Handbook

As I was thinking about my New Year’s Resolutions and what I need to change or do differently or just stop doing all together (that list was long), one of the changes I was most excited about was reading a book a month.

So, since I’m super quick at math I realized that would mean I would read 12 books in 2016.

Twelve books really isn’t all that much to people who actually read all the time. I haven’t been one of those, lately.

I hate that, too, because I love getting lost in a great book. I just hate how I forget to cook dinner, clean house, put a load of laundry in, or simply forget I have two kids who might be battling it out in the bedroom and only one may come out alive, but oh my gosh this chapter is so good I can’t put it down, now!

Perhaps, I should add balance to my long list of necessary changes for 2016?

Anyway, I’m working that out while I’m reading a great book if you haven’t heard of it yet, called Hands Free Life: 9 Habits for Overcoming Distraction, Living Better, and Loving More by Rachel Macy Stafford. I’m loving it so far and highly recommend it if you feel the need to slow down, but may need some permission first.

This book is your permission slip….please take it!

I was glad I had resolved to read more, too, after I took my two kids to the library the other day.

One child is a voracious reader and knows exactly what he is looking for and can’t wait to dive in and get going. Right now, he is into the Diary Of A Wimpy Kid series and can’t get enough of those. I have to admit, I really enjoy those, too, but my humor is about the age of a ten year old kid.

My other kid is only looking for books that do not exist. They have to be about her toys which there are no written books available. So, I grabbed some for her, but she looked at me and said those are great for you, Mom, but I’m not interested in those.

So, I walked outta there with one Diary of a Wimpy Kid book for one and six picture books for myself apparently.

Halfway to my New Year’s resolution mark of 12 books….way to go me!

This trip to the library made me ask myself what does it take to raise a lifelong reader? I have two totally different kids…how can I help light the fire of being a lifelong reader in each?

Just like Jim Trelease says in our opening quote, kids need a bonding agent – someone who attaches child to book. Our laps are the perfect place to begin creating that sweet bond between book and child.

There is nothing more rewarding than helping to create a strong friendship between a child and a book.

Yet, we must make time to foster that friendship each day, too. Be intentional.

It seems easier with some kids, especially if they are younger. The younger they are, the easier and more natural it is and continues to be, of course, but it’s never too late.

So, with the goal of raising lifelong readers/learners, here are a few new sub-resolutions I am going to add to my “I’m going to read more” resolution:

  1. Be A Reader Myself:(This one is obvious, obviously, but if I don’t say it I won’t do it!) If I want my kids to eat healthy, I must eat healthy, too, right? Same thing goes for reading. I must read in front of my kids. Sometimes, it’s really good for the kids to see the house in shambles because I can’t get myself away from a great book, right? I’m sticking to that, anyway!
  2. Set aside at least one time a day for reading: At least once a day, I must set aside for reading time with my kids. It doesn’t have to be bedtime, but it needs to be regular as if nothing else can happen at this set aside time. It is sacred! 
  3. Pick books according to attention span/listening ability: One has to learn to listen..it’s an acquired activity. If my child isn’t used to sitting down for longer periods of time to listen to a book, I’ll start with shorter books and gradually build up to longer stories. We’ll both enjoy it a lot more this way!
  4. Talk about books a lot!: This year, I want books to be a big part of our family conversation. If we enjoy something, we should talk about it! Isn’t that what good readers do? After I read a great story or a great paragraph, I can’t wait to share it with someone else. I want my kids to have the same opportunity. I must ask, though….a lot!
  5. Have a family book club: If you have older kids, have a family book club. Pick a high interest book and dive in together. Come together after every chapter or however often you decide and talk about your favorite parts, the confusing parts, the funny parts, the parts you can relate best to…etc. This is a great way to really get to know a child, too! And vice versa, too!reading pic3
  6. Accept all types of reading materials as reading: Literature can come in all sorts of formats…we need to go with what our child is interested in at the time. However, we can be on the lookout for books on that area of interest for our child, too.
  7. Limit screen time: Books cannot always compete with screens, unfortunately. When given a choice between a book and a screen, most kids are not going to choose the book. So, let’s limit the amount of time our kids are watching them so hopefully, they will turn to books. I love it when my kids say they are bored. I hear an opportunity to read a book!
  8. Have books readily available around the house: A book within reach has a bigger chance of being grabbed than a book hidden away. Let’s surround our children with books in their room, living room, and even in the bathroom! Go get baskets and Lysol!
  9. Encourage older kids to read to younger ones: A family who reads together stays together…isn’t that how it goes?
  10. Pick books that are interesting: When choosing books to read aloud, think about what is happening in our child’s world. Pick a few books related to what’s happening right now in his or her world. Is there a new neighbor? Is the child learning how to use the potty or learning how to be part of a team? Look for books on those topics. Plus, check the calendar. What holidays or seasons are coming up? Grab a few books on those, too!

reading by the pondRaising lifelong readers doesn’t happen overnight…nothing worth doing ever does. Knowing the benefits of being a reader, a lifelong learner, this is definitely a New Year’s Resolution I want to stick with this year and all the years to come.

Who’s with me? Are you in?






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