“Children almost always hang onto things tighter than their parents think they will.” – E.B. White, Charlotte’s Web
Charlotte’s Web is a classic children’s chapter book. It’s the first chapter book I remember reading as a child. As a teacher, it was the first chapter book I read aloud to my students who loved hearing the adventures of Fern, Charlotte and Wilbur. I know that in a few short years it will be the first chapter book that I will read to my daughter, Caroline. I can confidently say that Charlotte’s Web was the book that made me fall in love with reading. Children’s literature is full of characters, plot twists, and life lessons that make readers think deeply and escape on exciting adventures. As a mom, one of my biggest priorities is to encourage their love of reading from the beginning. While my kids are still so young, I do not know which book will be their “Charlotte’s Web” but we are on a daily journey to find it! It may be a chapter book, a picture book, or a nonfiction book about snakes (in that case they will be reading that with their dad!).
Loving Literacy at Home
We make reading a daily priority and it has become something that is beyond just our bedtime stories. We still love our nightly “snuggle and read” time but I’ve been more intentional lately about fostering that love of literacy. Since having Caroline, I felt like we were in survival mode and TV time became a big part of our daily routine. (Disclaimer: I am not anti-screen time but we are striving to have a healthy balance of reading, playing and watching). We spent more time watching “Llama Llama” than actually reading it! One thing has made a big difference is adding book baskets throughout the house. We have one in almost every room. I have noticed Coleman gravitating toward the book baskets and asking to read. He used to wake up and ask to watch cartoons every single morning but lately, he asks to “snuggle and read” while I drink coffee and wait for Caroline to wake up! We have also made more frequent visits to our local library. We are so fortunate to have a brand new, state of the art library in our town. Coleman loves to visit and check out all the books (and their awesome lego set up). Every day we pass the library on our way to preschool, swim, etc and Coleman starts talking about it! By making reading accessible and fun, I can see how much of an impact it has made. I can’t wait to continue to see how Coleman and Caroline grow their love of literacy and learning!
There are many ways to encourage your children as they go on their life-long reading adventure.
Here are a few ways you can help develop children’s love of literacy.
- START EARLY – This may seem silly but reading to your child before they are born has positive effects on their development. I began reading to Coleman as soon as we knew he existed and before Caroline was born she probably had “Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site” memorized.
- LIBRARY VISITS – Take fun trips to your local library. The library is a wonderful place to encourage readers from infancy to teen years. Many libraries have “Mommy & Me” classes, specific areas designated for children with cozy reading areas with colorful decor, and LOTS of books.
- LISTEN TO READING – Commute to preschool? Long road trip to the grandparents house? Take a break from the Paw Patrol DVD (a favorite on our minivan trips) and listen to a book on Audible, YouTube or Storyline Online.
- BOOKSTORE VISITS – Whenever Coleman & Caroline are gifted money from grandparents, we head to either a local bookstore or Target and they choose a new book to add to their bedroom libraries.
- CHOICE – Encourage your kids to choose books that interest them and meet their level of excitement! They will be excited to read the book because they love the characters or topic. (Unless the topic/story is inappropriate for their age or something you are not comfortable with them reading, then you can absolutely veto their choice pull another book that sparks their interest!)
- REREAD IT – My son is notorious for reading the exact same books every single night. This will really grow their fluency and language development and it will show them it is fun to have a favorite book to read over and over again! Not to mention is is the sweetest thing in the world when they begin to read the words with you!
- YOU READ! – One of the most important things you can do is to show your children that you are a reader, too! I don’t just mean reading their favorite book to them, I mean grab a grown-up book on your library visit and read it! Take a few minutes during your day while they are playing or reading, and you read your book. Coleman always notices when I have a new book on my bedside table and loves to ask about it!
- BOOK BASKETS – Fill baskets of books to leave in different places around your house – in the living room, the playroom, the car, the kitchen even the bathroom! When books are accessible to children they will pick them up! I’ve caught Coleman, my three year old, grabbing books in between playing with his toys and reading (storytelling) independently. Read more about our book baskets here!
As I dive more into my new blogging adventure I will share more in depth about the different ways to encourage your children as they become life-long readers!
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