“Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.” — Emilie Buchwald
When you ask a new mom if her child is saying words yet, most will say that the baby is starting to say momma or dada… my little one learned to say puppy first, and “Brown Bear” second.
That’s right, before she could even say momma, she was saying “Brown Bear” in the sweetest voice, with a smile on her face, because one of her favorite things to do in the world was to read Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Eric Carle. Of course she couldn’t technically read, but when I put her in my lap and opened that book… lightly bouncing her on my legs as I read the rhythmic lines, she was happy. She loved looking at the pictures, she loved turning the pages, she loved bouncing in my lap, sometimes dancing to the rhythm, and she loved participating by saying with me “Brown Bear!” Before she even really understood what a book was, she loved reading.
One of the most important gifts we can give our children is the love of reading. It can start as early as a newborn baby who likes to look at pictures. Research shows that the earlier a child is exposed to books and reading, the better opportunities they have to grow strong reading skills. But if your child is far beyond the infant age, it isn’t too late. Parents of young children can still enjoy a simple bedtime story routine with parents. And if your children have far outgrown the stage of wanting you in their rooms for a bedtime story, you can still connect with them through literature by choosing a book to read and discuss together. The ever popular Harry Potter, Hunger Games, or my favorite, The Selection series, are all great for parents and teenagers alike. When you participate in any of these activities with your children, you are not only building skills such as analysis, meta-cognition, and comprehension, but you are creating reading memories and a love of reading with your child. The love of reading is the foundation for growing strong skills. Nobody gets really good at doing something they hate. In order to grow and improve as a reader, children need to enjoy reading.
It would be a beautiful thing today for you to grab a book, sit down with your child, and enjoy it together. It will warm your heart to have them close by, and you will be building something special that will last a lifetime.
If you choose to accept the challenge, leave a comment below to tell me all about your experience!