Pick up a Book and Read, Read, Read!
by Kim Green-Spangler
Reading is one of the best free ways to entertain everyone from infants to the elderly. How does one instill a love of reading at a young age? By showing children that reading is important and modeling a love for the written word. A child would find it rather strange and hypocritical if a parent demands that he/she read, yet they are never seen reading themselves. Be it a newspaper, magazine, or book, parents should show children that reading can be an enjoyable activity for anyone.
Another way to instill a love of reading is by reading to and with children on a daily basis. Designate a reading time each day and make it fun even though it's required. Allow children to select the story and read to the young ones, allow children learning to read to alternate with you, and allow older children to read to you. A half-hour of reading each day can do wonders for improving reading skills and fostering a love for reading.
Most public libraries and bookstores have story time for younger children on a daily or weekly basis. Check with them to see what the schedule is. When children see others outside of the home enjoying books too, it may help them appreciate books even more. The development of good reading skills is important for everyone. The ability to read well improves safety for everyone, allows for economic stability through employment opportunities, and allows for better communication with everyone in a community. Literacy (the ability to read and write) is about the sharing of information. Information is a tool that fosters growth, cohesiveness, and is the foundation of success.
Get Caught Reading month is an event that was announced in 1999 by the Association of American Publishers. It was developed as a way to remind individuals that reading is fun and can be relaxing in today's technology taxed world. So help children step up to the challenge. Put books where they are easily accessible, ask relatives to supply children with books and/or gift cards to book stores for gifts, and take them to area libraries. Once children are old enough to write their name and address they can get their own library card. It's always more fun to borrow a book with your own card!
To foster the concept of "getting caught reading," record, video tape or photograph your child reading, let them see it and share it with friends or family members, or place a photo in their very own "reading scrapbook." Talk to educators and library personnel to see if you can work together to get your child excited about reading.
It's never too early to start reading to a child (in utero) or too late for someone to develop a love of reading. Exposure, modeling, and practice are the best ways to set someone down the reading path. It's time to get serious, use the month of May as your springboard to reading fun.
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