Raising a Reader

As a former teacher, one thing that brings me immense joy is watching my seven month old adore books.

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From her first day home, my husband and I surrounded her with books. We read to her each night and had books out during the day. While she played, I would often sit beside her and read whichever book was closest. Now we can’t keep her away! It makes my mommy heart smile to see her so excited by books!

She’s nearly eight months old, so we are early in our journey. I love taking her to the book store and library. I greatly look forward to when she’s a bit older and she focuses more on the story (and less on trying to chew on it)!

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As a teacher, there were a few commonalities I found with those kids that enjoyed reading and those that did not.

1. Books were available

This may seem silly, but making sure your child has access to books is essential! Books can be quite expensive, which is why we LOVE our public library. For real, we have a place with thousands of books for free. Let that sink in for the immense miracle that is! We also frequent thrift shops for books. Cupcake has a huge collection on a wide variety of topics.

2. Daily reading was encouraged

Growing up, I was read to every night. Once I learned how to read, I continued to do so each night. Sometimes I read to my parents; sometimes they read to me. It was just what we did and it never occurred to me to do anything differently.

The students I’ve had who love reading come from similar families who place a high value on reading every day.

3. Understanding what “counts” as reading

All too often, I hear people say they do not like reading. Then I see them scanning through news stories on their cell phone. Or reading a magazine. Or reading the latest football stats so they can update their fantasy team (hi sweetie!).

Reading comes in SO many forms. It’s so limiting to think that reading only counts as sitting with a large fiction novel (although that sounds lovely for me!). Reading happens all the time and kids need to know that. Reading is comic books. Reading is the newspaper. Reading is sports statistics. I’ve never found a single person who doesn’t like reading in any form. It’s so important that parents help their child see the many types of reading there are!

4. Everyone in the family reads

This is a biggie! I can remember multiple parent-teacher conferences about a kiddo who did not like to read. The parents often admitted to not reading much themselves.

Seeing parents reading is so important for a child. As per the last point, there are many types of reading. My mom loved fiction, while my dad was all about biographies of baseball players. It’s wonderful when parents read to their children, but it is so important that children see parents read on their own, too!

5. Reading happens everywhere

A lot counts as reading, and therefore reading happens in so many different places. Granted, Cupcake’s seven month-old self might not have fully understood, but you better believe I told her how happy I was to read that Dunkin’ Donuts now has almond milk. Mommy is so lucky to be able to read that big sign or she would not have been able to order her coffee! Isn’t reading helpful, Cupcake?

Wow! Thank goodness that blue car could read the stop sign so that our car was safe!

Hmm, I’m looking for Poppy’s house. Thank goodness I could read the number on his house so I know for sure this one is his. Whew.

Reading is one of the best gifts you can give your child. It is never too early to introduce your child to books and it is definitely never too late!

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