Raising a Reader

I want my kids to be readers. So very, very much. I want to share my love of words and story and learning with them. When Madison was three, I worried a bit. She really didn’t display any interest in books, not even at bedtime. Now as a six-year-old, she is reading well beyond her age, loves the bookstore, and picks up books for fun.readingcarter

At three, Carter is in love with books…as evidenced by this picture of him reading Marissa Meyer’s Heartless….errr..yeah. He plays with my books all the time, pretending to read them, playing bookstore, even just stacking them.

I have no well formulated plan for raising my kids to be readers. Instead, it is a simple immersion. I have a library of over 2000 books in my home – in the same room as my kids’ toys. Both Madison and Carter have shelves loaded with books in their room. We read at least two books every day; the bookstore is a fun day out; and they see me reading all the time. I figure if they are just constantly surrounded by books, a wide-range of books at that, then reading will just be natural. So far, so good.

I do worry that as they get older and more and more of their lives are outside the house, reading will fall by the wayside. I have a half-formed plan for bridging the books they read now – which have wondrous pictures – and non-picture books: COMICS. I love comics, or graphic novels if you want them to sound more intellectual, and I think using comics to augment my children’s reading experience will help them begin to engage with more complex stories. I also have both Brian Selznick’s Wonderstruck, The Marvels, and The Invention of Hugo Cabret ready and waiting for either kid to display an interest.

Are there any comics/graphic novels that you guys know of for 3-7 year olds?

readingcarter2

Most advice articles on raising a reader focus on junior high age children, and I want to solidify books and reading long before my kids hit sixth grade. I’d love to hear some advice from all of you. So outside of immersion (and possibly comics), how do you recommend instilling a love of books in toddlers and young children?

Side note: Don’t you just love how his little finger is mimicking following along with the words in that first picture and the oh-my-goodness serious face in the second?

5 thoughts on “Raising a Reader

  1. When my kids were really little, they weren’t much interested in books, mostly because neither their dad nor I had time to read too often. When Morrigan was nearly five, I made a concerted effort to make sure my kids saw me reading often, and they developed an interest really quickly after that. They all had different ideas on when they actually wanted to learn how to read themselves, but all have ended up reading beyond their years by some degree. Mostly, I’ve encouraged weekly visits with me to the library. Morrigan and Laurence will put 50 books (mostly manga) on their hold lists, and then bring a bag in to check them all out. Ambrose is less likely to read so much as it’s a slower, more painful process to him, but he still enjoys reading a couple books per month when he has time. I think between the library, seeing me read, and the limited screen time they get, books tend to be a natural choice for them.

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  2. Welcome back to blogging! I’m not a parent, but I do think my own love of reading came from seeing my mom with books and with her efforts to make sure we went to the library, read before bed, that sort of thing. We didn’t have a big library in our house anywhere, but I remember trips to the library being big exciting events, and seeing my mom always having a book with her around the house and when we went out together.

    Your kids are adorable, I love the photos you’ve shared!

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  3. Your return to blogging is interesting. Some people think blogging is over. I disagree, and you confirm my idea that there are people who just like to say more than a tweet can hold, and who like to share more extended thoughts, especially about books. You mention both books and cooking — that’s what I find fascinating. I love to see how authors use food as part of plot, atmosphere, or history (even in nonfiction). Though I don’t read books for really small children, I would be interested to see what you choose for your kids. Many of the books classified as “young adult” are really for all ages — it’s a publisher’s device, so I read them too.

    best… mae at maefood.blogspot.com

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