Thinking back to my days as a young preteen, when there was nothing I'd rather do than curl up with a good NANCY DREW book, I started pondering what exactly my parents did to help me want to read on my own for pleasure.
Of course, growing up, we didn't have the same distractions that kids today do: now there's not just the television, there are DVRs and DVDs. There are computers and the Internet. There's not just the telephone, there are cellphones and iPhones and networking sites like Facebook, that allow us to talk to each other whenever and wherever we want!
A good book these days has to compete with lots of other forms of entertainment, especially for preteens and up! So it's even more important for parents to help make reading a happy habit early in their kids' lives. I can think of a few things my family did, and that my husband and I tried to do with our kids to help inspire them to read, and I hope you don't mind if I share them...
1) My parents read aloud to us before we knew how to read, and continued even after we were able to read for ourselves.
2) They picked meaningful and imaginative stories.
3) There was rarely a day that I didn't witness them reading their own books (or the newspaper, or magazines) for pleasure or study. And if they came across something that they thought would interest us, they'd read aloud an excerpt.
4) There were always some reading choices on a little shelf in the bathroom (note: you've got to be careful with this one, if you have only one bathroom - people spend more time in there, when there's something to read!)
5) We had a "book bag" in the car, ready for running errands or visits to the doctor's or dentist's office.
6) As we grew older, "nap time" became "quiet time with a book".
7) Lots of choices were provided for us on our bookshelves: picture books; wholesome series stories that weren't necessarily "great literature", but got us reading (such as NANCY DREW and THE HARDY BOYS); poetry; comic books (such as PEANUTS and CALVIN AND HOBBS); and of course a whole range of novels and biographies.
8) We were faithful patrons of our local library and story hour.
9) Sometimes, we'd take a blanket and books out to the backyard or park and spend an afternoon reading, having a picnic, and looking at clouds.
10) We'd have family read aloud time before bed, and then silent reading time with books we picked out, as we each waited for our turn to be tucked in and say our prayers.
11) Our T.V. time was limited everyday, as we were encouraged to "go outside or read a good book".
12) During long summer trips in the car, my mom read aloud from chapter books (such as THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA or LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE) to hold our interest and help pass the time.
13) We read aloud from the Bible, often after meals, but always during Advent and other seasonal times on the Church calendar (i.e. feast days and during Lent).
14) And last, but not least, we were usually given books as gifts on our birthdays and for Christmas - and we treasured every one!
What are your tips or favorite memories???