I grew up in Denmark, in a small town, in a really tiny house. Our itty-bitty house was packed from floor to ceiling with books. These books were my world – and my world was large and wide.
The books were filled with pages covered with words, each and every one of them taking me on an adventure far away from my tiny house in the small town. Both my parents read and they passed their love for reading onto my sister and me. It is my hope and dream that our boys will develop the same appreciation for the written word.
I pray that they will learn new things, go on adventures and meet new friends all from getting lost in books. Our four boys are each at different learning levels, which makes it interesting, challenging but all the more important for us to introduce them to appropriate books.
This is how we keep books in front of them and hopefully foster their love for reading:
Baby, Jonah (6 months):
- Board books with few words and colorful pictures
- Objective: introduce new words and cuddling together with a book
- Discourage chewing on or eating the book
- Tell a story with simple words from the pictures
- Read stories to them at night (examples: Relax-a-Bye Baby, Guess how much I love you…)
Toddler/ Preschool, (Jansen 2.5 years):
- Board books
- Introduce regular paper books
- Objective: increase vocabulary by talking about the pictures, identifying colors, shapes and objects
- Introduce paging through a book
- Read a quick story and solicit engagement by asking questions about the pictures
Kindergarten, (Jordan 5.5 years):
- Introduce sight-word-rich books, such as “Bob Books”
- Read one page aloud, have him repeat, read next page, have him repeat. It may seem that he is just memorizing what you said and copying. But make him follow along by pointing to each word and over time he will start to recognize the written words
- Find books of interest to your child: a favorite animal or cartoon character
Second Grade:(Jacob 8 years):
- Chapter books, such as the “The Magic Tree House” or “Junie B Jones” series
- Encourage independent reading every day for a set amount of time. We normally ask Jacob to read 20-30 minutes per day
- Read aloud from books that are a few levels above your child’s current reading level. Ask him to point to the words as you read, this will introduce him to the next level and challenge his reading skills
In addition to personalizing our daily reading habits to each of the boys and their respective skill levels, we make sure to all sit down and read at the same time. Having a set reading time helps even the most reluctant readers to understand that all electronics are off and this is the time to read.
We go to the library rather frequently to load up on new reading materials for everyone, or we have a quick book swap with one of their friends. I have saying that all the kids love: “there is no such things has having too many books!” They know that if they would like to learn about an animal or a particular topic, I am happy to go to the library or even buy them more books.
So as I sit down at bed time to read to the boys, I remind myself that I am fostering their love for learning and reading – even if it is the 57th time I am reading about Dora’s first trip to the dentist!
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Tove is a Danish freelance writer, blogger, mom and builder of Legos.
She reports live from the trenches of motherhood, sharing stories about her life with four boys.
Her blog “Mama in the Now” empowers moms to parent by intuition – and with confidence! Connect with Tove on Facebook.