“In the great green room there was a telephone and a red balloon…” What mom hasn’t read these words from Goodnight Moon at least a thousand times? I can think of few more precious times than peacefully snuggling with a drowsy little one and reading. A love of reading is one of the greatest gifts we can pass on to our children.
There are many ways to develop your family’s passion for reading. Different kids respond to different activities. Some love to snuggle and listen to a good story, while others would rather build with Legos or draw while listening. Some would enjoy a project to go with a book, and others love to talk about what they have read.
One fun thing we did was to have a children’s book group. When our boys were young, our home school group had a book club at the local library. We met once a month to discuss a book. We chose different books for different levels. The youngest had picture books read by mom, and the older students read the books. The moms took turns leading the discussion groups. Each group talked about the book and did a simple project to go with the story. The kids looked forward to getting together, and to reading each new book. They also enjoyed going to the park or getting lunch together afterwards.
A great activity for a larger group is to have a “Literary Fair.” One year we did this with our church’s home school group. The children set up displays around the room. They were encouraged to make a project about a book, prepare a recipe from the book, or write an essay about the book. Other ideas were to create a book jacket, make a diorama, demonstrate a “how-to” activity from the book, write a poem, construct a mobile of characters, make an illustrated timeline of the book, paint a scene from the book, make a crossword puzzle, etc. The families all had such fun going around the room looking at the projects, and the kids got interested in each other’s books.
A tradition at our house is to buy books for gifts. In our family everyone gets a book for Christmas. I started this tradition when the boys were beginning readers. Some years everyone gets comic books. Last year it was books about new hobbies they wanted to pursue, as now they are all young adults. Honestly, this is not always their “favorite” gift, but it is one of my favorites to buy!
Here are some other ideas to promote a love of reading:
- Read, read, read, to your kids
- Visit your local library
- Keep a lot of books around the house
- Let your kids see you reading
- Write notes to your kids and tuck them in lunch boxes, under pillows, stuck on the mirror
Remember, the mechanics of learning to read are crucial, but the love of reading will be treasured for a lifetime. So, tonight read the last words in a peaceful whisper, “Goodnight stars, Goodnight air, Goodnight noises everywhere.”