Don’t get me wrong I love my iPad, and technology allows us to do some wonderful and amazing things. However, gadgets cannot take the place of the excitement of getting your first library card, standing in the middle of a bookstore with a treasure trove of books lined up on the shelves all around you, or cracking open of of these books and diving into the treasure inside. As you can tell I love books, and while I don’t mind my children using apps and watching some tv, I want them to know and love books like I do. I do several things to promote rising a reader in a techno world and so far it has worked great.
Set an example: If your children see you reading for pleasure, not just work or magazines, but books. This will show them that there is value in the activity and encourage them to read as well. I usually have 3-4 books laying around in various places ready to read and my kids will often curl up beside me with theirs while i read mine.
Read to them: From the time they are born (many start before) until they are big. Bedtime is of course a wonderful time to settle down and curl up together with a classic story but any time of day is a great opportunity to read a favorite book together. Snuggles and learning are a super combo.
Let them read to you: Children love to show what they know, even beginning readers with a little help can read to you and younger siblings. Showing off a bit and getting practice at the same time.
Make books readily available: Of course you probably already keep a shelf of books in your home somewhere but also place some in baskets near a comfy chair or rocker, on the bedside table in their room, and even a couple in the car.
Allow them to choose: As much as I want my child to love Little House on The Prairie the way I do they are still going to choose Captain Underpants, at least sometimes. During our 15 minute read aloud sessions mom gets to choose- Charlotte’s Web, Farmer Boy, Swiss Family Robinson, sigh. And they really do enjoy it. But when we drop into the bookstore I’ll let them choose a book purely on their own. Letting them have some control over the choice is going to lead to an interest in reading. The won’t always want to read the silly books and as long as you are getting in lots of time with more thought provoking books it is not doing them any harm.
To me a book I can hold in my hands, and yes even smell is the best way to read. But that being said, we do sometimes download books to read. This is just another way to capture their attention and get them reading.