Family Traditions: Instilling a Love of Books
As long as I can remember, I have had a love affair with books. As a child picture books would fascinate me and as a youth I would immerse myself in a novel. I knew I wanted to pass on this passion to my children. Books can teach, entertain, and inspire. I may not be able to show my children the world, but I know that I can visit anyplace at anytime with them through books.
Now that my children are eight, five, and three they are confirmed bookaholics. This was not a process that took place overnight. In fact, when my youngest was one year old he seemed to have an aversion to any type of book. I worried.I panicked. And about the time I was ready to consult an expert, he magically discovered the allure of books.
And while my two littlest guys can not technically read on their own, it certainly doesn't stop them from looking at books and enjoying them. In their own way they "read" books without even being read to. As a mom, some of my most magical moments have occurred wondering why the boys are so quiet in the next room. I cautiously peek around the corner fearing mayhem and destruction--surely, they were up to no good being that quiet. But instead I discovered a room full of book-absorbed boys. It doesn't get any better than that!
How do you create little bookworms?
There is no magical process, but based on my experience here are some important aspects to keep in mind.
- Keep plenty of books in your house. It's simple, isn't it? Obviously, children need to have access to books from an early age. It has been my experience that one can acquire books for a relatively small amount. Garage sales and thrift stores are usually loaded with a wide selection of books for a discounted price. Books don't have to be expensive or special. Just buy them in a wide variety of subjects. You never know what might spark your child's interest. Owning books can be important when children are first learning, as some just might end up in the trash from intentional ripping or unwanted writing.
- Try new books constantly. Once a week I have a very important appointment on my calendar. It isn't the beauty salon and it isn't a play-date. It's a visit to my local bookmobile. Did you know the library let's you borrow books for FREE? I joke, but in this day and age, almost nothing is for free. I have a deep love for my local library and bookmobile. They are great resources that allow you to to keep new books in your home at all times. Bookmobile Day is a happy occasion in my home, as the boys know new reading material will be abundant.
- Read to your children. Again, a simple idea, but very important. For your children to actually enjoy books you must assist them in discovering the joy of reading. The earlier the better. If they wiggle away, just try again later. Don't give up. Children are constantly learning and changing, you never know when the entire experience will "click".
- Make sure your children see you reading. Monkey see, monkey do. If you don't like books and don't value reading, your children are bound to understand it on some level. To assist your children, you must first find reading material you love. It doesn't matter what it is. Truly. Whatever works for you is awesome. Magazines, pamphlets, poetry, whatever! When your children see you reading, it sends a strong and important message: reading is important.
Does your family love books? How did you help instill this habit in your children?
Please feel free to add your ideas and advice in the comments below.
Alicia Kirby is the founder of The Mama Report and a SAHM to three little boys who have oodles of energy. When she's not chasing after, cooking for, cleaning up, or kissing and hugging her little guys, she enjoys writing about a wide variety of topics. Formerly a high school history and literature teacher, she is currently happy to be raising her sons in the Minnesota countryside with her geek loving husband.