Sunday, September 19, 2010

Young Readers

I am enjoying watching my son Nicholas, who will be three at the end of March. I laugh because I see him doing things and remember Matthew doing them, but not the twins...I am sure the twins developed the same way, but with two at the same age, life kind of goes by in a blur.

Nicholas has bins of books throughout the house. They are mainly the chunky board books, easy for little hands (and durable). I catch him frequently pulling his favorites out, and every morning they are scattered all over his bedroom floor from the reading he's done the night before rather than going to sleep. Have I told him to only choose books? No. Does he have bins of toys he could choose to play with instead? You bet. But he doesn't - he opts for books.

How is it that my boys love to read so much?

I don't know how you picture my household. You may imagine me on the couch reading a book, my boys nuzzled up against pillows, books in hand. Actually, it's quite the contrary. Everyone in my house has to "steal" moments to read - there is so much going on -- it's almost chaotic at times.

Yes, I am scheduled, and we do read together, but it's hit and miss.

I get asked a lot: "How do you do it? You must have read to them a ton when they were little."

I always cringe when I hear that. I feel a bit guilty, because I didn't read to them every night. I didn't take them to the library for storytime. I am a full time working mom...we have always run a PACKED day. Sometimes the only reading they did was in the car on the way to practice, or the store because we were again, out of mile.

Yes, research shows that those things are positive influences on reading, so I am not saying they aren't important. They definitely are. Do those things if at all possible. But I do know that many of you run a busy household too, and feel guilty about it -- and if those kids are struggling in reading, it's an easy thing to think "hey, maybe that's why..."

But what did I do? I surrounded them with books. I always read authentically and with sincerity. I shared myself as a thoughts, my questions, my ideas. I listened to them as readers and encouraged them to talk and feel about books. I corrected with praise, and always coached with "I heard you say x, but it really says y - doesn't that make the book make more sense?"

The excitement for THEIR books...even from those chunky board books with Elmo simply identifying shapes...makes the biggest difference.

Maybe that is it. Be sincere. Be interested in their books. Show the excitement in what they are reading. Hmmm....

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