Guest Post | Patricia Furstenberg – Raising a Reader

On Monday we featured a book by Patricia Furstenberg. Joyful Trouble is her latest book and you can read our review here. Patricia was kind enough to offer to write us a post about getting children into reading and bringing them up to really enjoy it.

Raising a child who enjoys reading books might be easier said than done, at times, but, in the long run, it’s all worth it.

I often think of my childhood and the feeling of excitement and wonder I felt when standing in front of my parent’s many bookshelves. So much to read, so much to look forward to! How old will I be when I’ll finish reading all these books? Those were the times, believe it or not, when technology meant a TV with a remote!

My children were born in and live in the age of technology and it is a new challenge, for us as parents, to make sure that the love of reading is not being transformed in a tradition of the past, but rather remains a treasured pastime.

My husband and I used to read and sing to my children since before they were born and as they grew older reading time as a family became a treasured and special time for all of us. Even now, with my children having their own reading habits, they still look back on our family time gathered around a book with big smiles on their faces and a warm feeling in their hearts.

We are fortunate enough to be able to walk to the communal library. And although we have walls and walls covered in books at home and more books towering from the floor, visiting the local library or the bookstore always carries a magical feeling about it.

For what can be better than getting lost in a maze of books?

To my pleasant surprise, whenever we go to the library I see lots of other parents bringing their little ones along. It is such a positive experience for a child and a definite advantage.

Studies show that children who have been introduced to books from an early age have a positive attitude towards reading and a greater chance to become successful readers. But a successful reader isn’t only someone who devours one book after another. A successful reader will also understand what the story line is about, will get its meaning and will also be able to focus on the task at hand for a longer time. For this is what reading entails, being able to focus indefinitely. Or at least until Mom or Dad come to switch off your light and forcefully remove the book from your hand because… tomorrow is school.

If reading seems like a struggle then a good idea would be to look at your child’s interests and start from there. Find books with little text and lots of images geared at what your child is interested it. Then slowly move to books with short chapters. Leaving reading material around the house is also a good idea. Read yourself, for the joy of it. Children often mimic what they see and we, as parents, are our children’s mirrors. Get Dad to read too if your son struggles with reading. Even better, try a father-son book club and perhaps get involved with other dads and their sons. Also, how-to books on sport are a great place to start getting a boy interested in reading.

For boys, ‘Captain Underpants’ series by Dav Pilkey is a great place to start; or ‘Diary of a Wimpy kid’ by Jeff Kinney.

For girls, stories about animals, ponies or puppies are often a hit.

If your child struggles to read himself, then read to him, aloud, every day. He’ll still get to enjoy the story without feeling frustrated and books will still be a positive experience for him. Until he’ll enjoy them by himself.

Never make reading a chore. Rather surround your child with books, rather than forcing it on him. Place a bookshelf in his room and allow him to choose a few books to place in it.

Kids, especially boys, love silly books. Books with jokes are a great way to get them reading, sometimes even without them even noticing they are doing it.

And remember, having positive role models help both boys and girl staying interested in reading.

© pocketnannies 2017

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