One of my goals in parenting is that my kids would love a good story. I want them to be adults that are drawn to a story. I want them to have fond memories of books, family, and time together reading good books. Practically, reading WITH my kids has changed a lot during our seasons of parenting. In the early years, we wore out our copy of My First Mother Goose. As my kids got a littler older, I slowly incorporated illustrated chapter books into meal times or before bed. We started with Winnie the Pooh and fell into the wonderful world of Mr. Popper's Penguins.
I try to guide (not dictate) what book choices they make. It is so important that they read things they are interested in. I'm pretty sure I've read every single dinosaur book in the non-fiction section of our library. Ask me some random fact about dinosaurs and I probably know it. For a short season, those are the ONLY books my boys would get from the library so I went with it!
Now as I have 2 independent readers (and one emerging reader), I still work hard at fostering a love for literature. We may not get to read all together each week, but we are always reading. It is important to know your kids and their reading ability. Some kids will come into reading effortlessly. For those kids, maybe you read a book along with them. Decide on a date you'll both have the book read and then meet-up to talk about it. What is great about this approach is that along the way fabulous conversations happen! Over breakfast you'll find yourself discussing new vocabulary words or debating what you think will happen next in the book. We are entering into the world of our children in very practical ways when we read WITH them. It doesn't have to be complicated. The best things happen in the simplest of moments.
Here are some of our favorite family books:
For those in your home who may struggle to read, curl up and read with them! Even older children can benefit from reading aloud. Encourage the love of the story not the struggle to read. Use this time to build confidence and skill. We may read a few pages and then stop and discuss things. I may say "Tell me what happened?" or "What do think will happen next?" So many kids stop reading because they think they aren't "good" at it. Focus on the story, not their ability. In time, you'll hear your kids saying "I can't wait to find out what happens next!" They are now in love with the story.
The point is not to FORCE good books on your kids, but to create a culture of togetherness. A time where you both look forward to spending time together.
What are some of your family's favorite books?