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Monday, January 25, 2010

Fostering A Love For Reading: Part 2

Have Books Everywhere...
and Watch the Magic Happen!

This is kind of a no-brainer, right? I mean, how can your child be interested in reading if there aren't books around to be read?

Usually I see books kept in a child's room, but often that's the only place I see them. Books should be everywhere! In the kitchen. In the bathroom. In the car. In the living room. In your bedroom. With your outside toys... Anywhere your child spends any time on a regular basis, make space for some books there. You don't have to have a whole bookshelf, just a little pile. Even one or two will do.

I also recommend that you give the books in your house a fair fight. By that, I mean don't have a room full of a million toys, and then a stack of a few books. The books will obviously get lost in the mix, and likely never even be seen, let alone picked up and read. Place as much value on the books as the toys. Give them equal play space, even setting some books out on the table, or the rug as you're setting out toys for playtime.

It's also important to rotate the books that you have out around the house. Kids (especially babies and toddlers) like to read the same book over and over. This is a good thing! But eventually everyone needs a little variety. Mix it up a bit, and keep them interested.

Having books everywhere is one step in the plan for "Fostering a Love for Reading." It doesn't work on its own. It must be combined with other efforts as well. But if this particular step in Fostering a Love for Reading is new to you, you may be surprised as just how powerful it can be to simply makes books available to your child everywhere.

One more place I always have a book: my purse or diaper bag. Always handy! And this is especially neat if your child isn't used to you having a book with you. Pull it out as a special surprise while you're waiting in line at the grocery store. You don't have to necessarily read it to your child, hand it to them and let them flip through the pages as you unload the grocery cart. If you have an older child, keep a chapter book in the car or your purse that you can read a chapter together here and there when you're out and about and have some time to kill waiting around.

And one last thing, if you have books everywhere, the books will do a lot of the work for you, as far as capturing your child's attention. But your child isn't going to stay interested in the books if you don't engage with them in reading as well. But having the books everywhere will make it totally easy and natural for you to encourage reading throughout the day, during playtime, during mealtimes, during bath time... When books are everywhere, they sort of naturally become a lifestyle. And that's the goal!

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