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Monday, January 18, 2010

Fostering A Love For Reading: Part 1

Find Books On Topics That Interest Your Child

Before I had kids I would hear this kind of advice a lot, and I gave this advice a lot myself as well. But I must admit, I was always a bit skeptical of whether it was really effective or not. Now that I have My Little Reader (Isaac) though, I can say that IT IS! Granted, I have been feeding Isaac a steady diet of books since he was a fetus, so I'm sure that helps, but I think this particular tip has helped his hunger for books grow and grow.

Obviously when Isaac was tiny, it was kind of whatever goes when it came to the subject matter of his little baby books. But now he actually has things that he's interested in, and it's SO MUCH FUN! It makes reading books with him even MORE enjoyable. I had no idea! There's this certain joy that comes with finding a book that you know your little one is going to go gaga over. So far for me, it's been one of the most rewarding experiences when it comes to parenting... Who am I kidding? It's been one of the most rewarding experiences PERIOD.

And the great thing about it is, once you start choosing a variety of books to read your little one, and you start discovering their interests, it then leads to new interests and then more new books to explore and enjoy.

If you can find a book they like that's part of a series that's a bonus, because then you have a bunch of books ready to go that are likely to be guaranteed hits!

Isaac has always been really into puppies and doggies. Maybe it started with us reading him Snuggle Puppy all the time when he was tiny (he loved it)? So recently I decided to get one of the Carl books (Alexandra Day) from the library. He loved it, and now we've been reading more books in the Carl series.

Then we went to Toddler Storytime at the library, and they sang "The Itsy Bitsy Spider." He's been doing the little hand motions for it ever since. So I brought him over to my big bookshelf and got out my copy of The Itsy Bitsy Spider (Iza Trapani). He's really diggin' it. He asked for it a couple times today.

Also, we've been reading Arthur's Christmas (Marc Brown) for about two months now. Ugh! He really fell in love with that one when he discovered that, in the book, Arthur has a piggy bank just like his piggy bank. So today we finally went and pulled a new Arthur book off Mommy's book shelf - Arthur's Birthday. I think we read that one about four times today. Actually, the promise of reading Arthur's Birthday was how I got him to very willingly get into his PJs tonight.

We don't let Isaac watch much TV, but lately we've been letting him watch a little bit of Toy Story 2 while we get ready in the mornings (while Mommy's showering and doing her hair, etc.). He is now obsessed with Toy Story 2, a fact which my husband and I kind of hate. But I'm thinking if I can find some Toy Story books, that might make us all really happy! (Perhaps an adventure for us to go on later this week...)

... As I'm typing all this, I'm thinking of more topics Isaac is currently intrigued by that I need to go book-hunting for.

Today's tip is not limited to just parents. Teachers, find out what your students are interested in and bring in some books from the library on the topic. Surprise them with it and say something like, "I know how much you love _____, so I found this book all about it at the library. Let's read it together!" How fun would that be for them? They'll probably end up begging you to bring them books on all kinds of topics.

This is also a great idea for any kids in your life. I have bought my nieces books on topics I know they love. Bought one of them a knight book one Christmas. And this Christmas I got one of my nieces a story about Big Bird (one of her latest obsessions).

Don't think you only should find books on topics they've demonstrated an interest in. Be sure to introduce books on new topics to them as well. Do both!

For reluctant readers though, books on topics they're already interested in is a great place to start!

How have the little ones in your life responded to books on topics they're interested in?

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