Did you know that the month of March has been set aside as National Reading Month? Don’t fret, neither did I (And I am a certified bookworm, just ask my husband). The goal of National Reading Month is to help children develop the habit (naturally) of reading at least 15 minutes a day. Yes, you read that correctly, 15 minutes is all it takes. Would you like to know how to develop a little book lover? Sit back and let me show you how it’s done; I did the research so you don’t have to!
If you were to ask me to choose between a book and a television show, well, I will ALWAYS choose a book. There is something magical to me about immersing yourself in a good story. You know, the type of story that engages you on such a deep level that you feel as though you are in mourning when it is over. The kind of story that leaves you yearning to know more about the characters and their lives. These are the books I live for.
If there is one thing I hope my children inherit from me (other than my hilarious personality), it is my love for reading. Nothing would make me happier than to be responsible for creating two little bookworms. I mean, have you ever heard someone say, “That movie was way better than the book?” I never have. Without further ado, here are some ways in which you, yes YOU, can inspire the budding reader in your home.
- For starters, read to your child at an early age (it is never too soon). Their attention span may be short, but dramatize the story, act out the parts, and make sound effects if you have to. Do whatever it takes to captivate their attention, even if it is for less than five minutes. With my kids what has kept them engaged are books with fun & silly rhymes. One of our household favorites is Deborah Diesen’s The Pout-Pout Fish. You cannot go wrong with this one; I’ve read it close to a million times (No exaggeration!).
- Fill your home with books. If you are thinking, “Oh-my-goodness the clutter!,” I’ve got you covered. Designate a space specifically for housing books, a cozy little book nook. If kids grow up with books around them, their curiosity will peak. It’s kind of like that rogue vegetable on your child’s dinner plate. One day, ONE DAY, they will be curious enough to try the green bean, trust me.
- Become your child’s reading role-model. In my humble opinion this is the most important one of all. Think back on your childhood. Who in your life was your reading role-model? Mine was my father. The only television my father ever watched was soccer. He spent the days working construction and the nights devouring books, magazines, and newspapers. Our dinner table was always filled, to my mother’s dismay, with articles. I would wake up to clippings with notes on them that read, “Renata, read this and we will discuss later.” It became our thing. Let your children see you reading and tell them how much you enjoy it. It’s true when they say that kids want to grow up to be like their parents. If they see you read, they will inevitably want to read as well.
- When your child is old enough, get them a library card. There was nothing I enjoyed more than checking out books with a library card that had my own name on it. Sure, I may have forgotten to return a book or two (A story for another day) but it somehow made me feel like a grown-up. My mom would watch from afar as I would take my books to get scanned all-by-myself. I would pull out my Paul Frank velcro wallet and proudly hand the librarian the only thing I carried, my library card, and I would smile from ear-to-ear as she would hand me back my pile of books.
- Lastly, offer an incentive to motivate your child to read. No, I am not suggesting elaborate and expensive gifts. What I am suggesting are things as simple as a sticker-book, pencils, or the opportunity to purchase a book of their own choosing. Your goal is to inspire a taste for reading and the way to accomplish this is by, you guessed it, more reading.
So, there you have it, five simple and easy ways to develop and encourage the aspiring bookworm in your life. If your child doesn’t immediately love to read, do not despair. Like with all things in life, patience is a virtue. Now march on into the book store and start building your collection. Take it from me, the book really is better than the movie.