By Judy Lalli, M.S., author of I Like Being Me: Poems about kindness, friendship, and making good choices
It’s all about relationships. Young children who have warm, interactive relationships with the adults in their lives will show enthusiasm for whatever those adults love. Perhaps you remember a favorite teacher who had a passion for dinosaurs, for example, or rock collections or classical music, which made you want to learn all about those topics as well. Adults who care for children and demonstrate a passion for reading will influence those children to develop a similar passion.
You may have heard the expression “Children learn what they live.” We have to model the behaviors we expect from our charges. It’s confusing and hypocritical to keep a messy house yet tell our children to clean their rooms. Similarly, it doesn’t work to tell children that books and reading are important yet never let them see us read.
So, some basic tips:
- Read. Put down the electronics and turn off the TV. Let children see you reading, and let them know you enjoy doing it.
- Have a variety of wonderful, eye-catching reading materials available. Keep books at children’s eye level for easy access.
- Read aloud to children every single day, even once they are able to read by themselves. For many of us, some of our fondest memories are of family members reading to us at bedtime or of teachers reading to us at story time. Years later, we may not remember the names of the books we heard, but we remember the warm, delicious feelings we had when we had no other responsibilities than to listen to the story and anticipate the words that were coming next.
- Take children to the library and allow them to check out books they want to read using their own library cards.
- Show interest in what your children are reading. Ask them questions and listen to their answers.
It’s all about relationships. You can forge a bond with children over almost anything. Forge a bond over books!
Judy Lalli, M.S., is the coordinator of online learning for PLS 3rd Learning after having enjoyed a wonderful career as a classroom teacher in Norristown, Pennsylvania. She holds B.S. and M.S. degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, and she has completed extensive postgraduate work as well. Judy is a visiting author to classrooms around the country, and she is a recipient of the Delaware Valley Reading Association’s Celebrate Literacy Award for her work promoting early literacy development.
Judy is the author of I Like Being Me: Poems about kindness, friendship, and making good choices.
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