I love the times I see my daughter secretly staying up past her bedtime, under a blanket with a flashlight and a book, because the book was too good to put down. I quietly back out of the room and let her continue.
Charlie Munger said, “In my whole life, I have known no wise people who didn’t read all the time, none, zero.”
Reading is important. My mom knew that, too, when I was growing up. In fact, we used to keep a list taped to the inside of a cupboard where I would write the title of each book I read. For every book I read, she bought me a cassette tape of my choosing. The bribe worked. She knew that I’d have a love of reading soon enough. As a result, all my life you never caught me without a book.
I want to encourage that love of reading with my daughter. When she was five, I let her stay up in 5-minute increments past her bedtime if she read to me. I was doing my own version of bribing.
According to PISA IN FOCUS 2011/8 (September), “Students who are highly engaged in a wide range of reading activities are more likely than other students to be effective learners and to perform well at school. Research also documents a strong link between reading practices, motivation and proficiency among adults. Proficiency in reading is crucial for individuals to make sense of the world they live in and to continue learning throughout their lives.”
I try to find creative ways to encourage reading. For example…
- We always have books with us when we run errands.
- We have Family Reading Time where we spend an hour on the couch all reading our books.
- We go to the library where my daughter gets excited at the prospect of (essentially) no limits on how many books she can borrow.
- We buy books as gifts for her (birthday / holidays).
- We make sure she knows that we, as parents, are frequently reading which oftentimes means reading hard copy books as proof that we’re reading (reading on an iPhone is common for me too but she doesn’t always know I’m reading so I make it a point to read plenty of hard copy books in front of her).
- I read to her while she eats breakfast (often, but not often enough)
- We also find other times where we are reading to her. Greg is currently reading Harry Potter to her in the evenings. I also read to her while we’re in the car with Greg driving. (Reading in cars is my superpower.)
Here’s what I’m reading to Kamea now. The author, Caroline Paul, gave one of my favorite Ted Talks so I borrowed her book from the library.
Here’s her Ted Talk I highly recommendonhow to raise brave girls and encourage adventure.
With iPads and tablets all the rage, it isn’t so obvious to kids to grab a book and read, when looking for something to do. And, I love technology, games, and apps for my daughter, so I don’t jump to telling her to read a book instead. For all I know that could backfire anyway. Therefore I attempt balance with stealth.
Here’s a tip to help improve reading for the young ones watching TV… according to an article on Lifehacker.com
“A Reddit user once suggested turning on the subtitles when kids watch TV. The parent’s son had become “excellent with his verbal and spelling skills,” and while that may not be directly correlated with seeing words on his screen, the idea has legs. People have long used TV and movie subtitles to help themlearn new languages, and since many kid shows repeat the same words over and over, children can become familiar with them even as they zone out to Danger Mouse or Inspector Gadget.”
“The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.” – Mark Twain