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Monday, September 28, 2009

Reading Role Models

Photo by The U.S. Army
We always hear how important it is for children to have reading role models. And when we think of our child's reading role models, we usually think of us, their parents. We should. We are their primary reading role models! But what about all those other reading role models in their life? Or the reading role models that have yet to enter their life?

How big of an impact do you suppose others have on your child's reading journey? I'm guessing a pretty big one. As I look back on my childhood, there are a handful of reading role models I can think of. Unfortunately, I can't say there are many that especially stick out. As you may recall from previous posts, I wasn't a big reader when I was younger. Perhaps this lack of significant reading role models in my childhood was a contributing factor to that.

My parents were readers, but didn't involve us much in their reading. I saw them reading from time to time, but never heard them talk much about what they read, or remember them suggesting books to me (their were a few exceptions to that as I got into my teen years).

I do have an aunt (she lived next door) that was/is a big reader. She did an awesome Grover voice while reading Sesame Street stories when we were little, always had books on tape on during road trips, and read books like A Wrinkle In Time aloud to us.

There were a few others along the way. Librarians, siblings, some friends...

Can reading role models make or break a reading future? As I'm writing this, I'm realizing just how much of a difference having strong reading models makes. So how do we ensure our children have strong reading role models?
- Read yourself! Read around your children. Encourage them to read. Share interesting things you read with them. Recommend good books to them.
- Talk about books with others, especially when your children are around. Ask your friends what they're reading. Ask them what their children are reading. How about creating a book club/play group? The kiddos play and the parents discuss a book!
- Take your child to the library and the bookstore. Buy them books on special occasions and for no reason at all. Show them how much you value reading.
- Meet your local librarian. Ask them for book suggestions. Become their friend! :)
- Encourage others' children to read, not only your own. We need to be role models for many! Ask your children's friends what they're reading. Volunteer to read at your child's school. Host storytime playdates. Be seen reading!

Being a reading role model is easy. Just be intentional (but not forceful) and share your passion!

Who was a reading role model for you?

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