I realized that I haven't shared with you my favorite spot in the house. Henry's Reading Nook. In fact, Henry was so excited that I was taking pictures of it that he crawled right over to demonstrate it's use. I'm not kidding, these pictures aren't staged. He just crawled over, sat himself down, grabbed a book and opened it right up.
And then had to show his green truck the books as well.
A few things I have noticed since making this spot - Unlike the rest of the toys in the room, the books stay pretty close to the nook it's as if he knows "this is the reading spot" and perhaps it was just a well timed accident, but his interest in his books seemed to sky rocket after this spot became his.
Though I try not to give too much parenting advice here. However, as a granddaughter of a children's librarian and a future librarian myself I do feel I have a little insight into child literacy.
Here are my top 6 tips for promoting a love of books a young age.
- Monkey See Monkey Do - Read around your child. Read books, magazines, the mail anything! A child is going to do what you do long before they do what you say. If you show them that sitting down for quiet time with a book interests you they'll want to discover why!
- Have a Reading Space - Even as adults we forge out our own reading spaces - maybe it's the tub or that one comfy chair. Make a child a space that is just for reading. Make it comfortable and limit the availability of electronic distractions (there is no tv in the room where Henry's reading nook is).
- Age Appropriate Books - Whether it's board books a toddler can't rip or chapter books for an older child make sure you're catering to your child's age. Simple, short books with bold illustrations or "touch me" books are right where we're at right now.
- Spark An Interest and Feed the Fire- Pay attention to which books get pulled from the pile, even at a very young age a child will start to recognize shapes or things that keep him interested. You might end up with 10 books about trains, but the important thing is that those books are being used! Just like how a toddler likes to fixate on a particular food toddlers and older children will fixate on particular topics. Indulge these interests to the best of your ability until they've gorged themselves and are ready to move on to the next obsession.
- Read Everywhere - Show your kids that readings just not for school. Take a book of bible stories as part of your busy bag to Church. Take books, a picnic and a blanket to the park. Take books on vacation. Turn off the radio and listen to books in the car.
- Make Reading An Adventure - Whether it's taking your toddler to storytime at the library or taking your dinosaur obsessed 6 year old to the museum to see Sue engage your young reader with the literary world around them. Encourage them to do summer reading programs (I know our local libraries have special programs to encourage parents to read to their babies and toddlers as part of their Summer Reading Programs) to show them that "Reading is Cool". Take advantage of meeting visiting authors. Read the book before you watch the movie. Take your "Thomas" fan to see real trains. Take your "Dora" fan to a Hispanic or Latin American cultural event. Show them that reading truly is a free pass to the world.