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Friday, July 23, 2010

Living the Lessons

Being a first-time Mom has been an eye-opening experience for me. For the past five years I've been teaching other people's children to love reading, and encouraging other parents to foster a love of reading in their children. Now, I'm seeking to do the same thing within my own family. With my own child.

I feel the pressure to raise a strong and enthusiastic reader. There's that expectation from others... and it's not a silent expectation (from some). But these first couple of years with my son, I've felt pretty laid back in my reading encouragement as a momma. Laid back in that I haven't stressed too much about it; I haven't has any reason to. Perhaps that will change now that my son is getting older (he's not a baby anymore. Wah!) and inching closer and closer to reading independently. We'll see.

My son is talking more and more and has been melting my heart with his expressions of love for books lately. (Go check out the Literacy Launchpad facebook page to read some of his latest quotes.) Just today we were at a bounce house play place and he came and sat next to me on a bench and suggested I read him a book. Melt.

So now that I see that he really does love books, I've asked myself how we got from tiny newborn to book-loving toddler. To tell you the truth, it was pretty effortless. I've done things that come naturally, things that are enjoyable, things that are inexpensive (or free), and things that make my life easier as a mommy... Those things that I've been telling other parents to do for years. They really work. Go figure.
  1. We have books everywhere. In every room. If they're there, your child will want to read them.
  2. We read at bedtime and nap time. At least. If we read at no other point during the day (which is hard to do if you have books in every room in your house), we have these guaranteed built-in reading times every day. And Isaac looks forward to them.
  3. We limit TV time. I always said I wasn't going to let my kids watch any TV before they were two. That didn't happen. But we only let Isaac watch a small amount of TV a day. And honestly, some of his TV watching has lead to extra reading excitement.
There are other little things we do to foster Isaac's love of reading, but these things listed above are the basics. Start here and magic will happen. It's true (gasp!). Everything else we do with our son is a natural progression that stems from these basics.

For more ideas (beyond the basics) just browse my blog, or email me. I would be glad to give you more ideas or help you however I can.

I would love to hear from you mommas of older kiddos about what I might be in store for in the not-so-distant future. How have your children's reading interests and enthusiasm progressed or regressed as they've gotten older? What do you do to keep the fire burning?

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