Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Raising Readers

Everyone wants their children to be great readers. What parent wouldn't be thrilled if their child chose to pick up a book as opposed to watching TV? And to my great joy - both of my children are like that. At age nine and six, they both love books.

So what's the secret of our success? How did we do it? What advice can I give?

First: My husband and I are both readers. We have a house full of books. We get countless magazine subscriptions (countless, because I really have lost count of how many there are), and get two daily newspapers. There is always something to read in our house.

Second: We don't have cable TV, so the TV choices are limited. Believe me, that has to help.

Third: From a very early age we read to the children. Bedtimes could go on forever as first Mom and then Dad would read to each child.

Fourth: Dick and Jane books. People make fun of them, but both of my children learned to read at age four, using those books. They are great for getting that initial concept of letters make up words and they mean something.

Fifth: Finding books that really pique a child's interest. When my daughter was little she loved anything to do with fairies. We discovered the Pixie Trick series. My son, age six, is a Magic Tree House fanatic. We had to go out yesterday and get the newest book the day it hit bookstores. He was done with it in a little over an hour.

Six: Reading lights. We got them each a Timely Reader reading light. It allows a parent to set the timer for up to ninety minutes. When the time is up the light goes off (with a two minute warning blink). They are allowed to stay awake longer because they are reading. In theory, when the light goes off, they put the book down and go to sleep. It almost works that way too.

Seven: I think I am just very blessed. I don't know if anything I did or didn't do made my children love books. I just thank the good Lord that they do.

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