Raising Readers


Getting my kids to love reading like I do was harder than I thought it would be. I just assumed because I love to read, they would. But it wasn’t that easy.

First I had to teach them to read, which turns out to be not as much fun as it sounds. Then, I listened to them read as they painstakingly sounded out words with dramatic pauses between each one. It took everything in me to keep from shouting out the words for them. Finally, they were ready to read on their own. Now they are taking off and excited, wanting to get new books all the time and not just picture books and easy readers anymore. The only problem is I suddenly realize I can’t turn them loose in the library. Not all the books there are what I want my brand new readers to be reading.

As many times as I read the good stuff to my kids and point them toward my childhood favorites in the library, they’ll still inevitably bring home a Junie B. Jones or a Mary Kate and Ashley book, clinging too it hopefully like it’s the best thing in the world.

Believe me I understand the allure of fluff reading. I do plenty of it myself. I love some good escape fiction, but I know they need a balanced reading diet. So I tolerate a few of those choices, but I also try to introduce them to the better books out there. And one of the best ways to do that is to read aloud to them.

What? You just got them reading on their own? Now you’ve got to start reading aloud all over again?

I think we do. I think our voices, our emotion carries through the words of the story and that excitement is catching. Often a book my kids wouldn’t dream of starting on their own, because it’s too thick or too boring looking, gets picked up and finished after I read a couple of chapters aloud.

Another option is audio books. One of our favorite things to do is get an audio book for a long trip. We have listened to The Chronicles of NarniaThe Sign of the Beaver and A Series of Unfortunate Events, just to name a few, and those stories have stuck with us and become family favorites.

The challenge of raising a reader doesn’t end once they can read on their own, it begins.

Melissa from A Familiar Path

Guest Contributor (38 Posts)

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  1. says

    I wonder how many homeschooling moms are surprised when their love for reading does not always automatically transfer to their children. So far almost all my children enjoy free time reading – all most too much at times! – but I have one who doesn’t. He struggles to come up with a book to read for a book report. It isn’t that he isn’t an excellent reader because he is, but he just doesn’t enjoy reading. And that really is okay because he has a lot of other interests and reads what he needs to pursue those. And that’s why your point is so good about continuing to read aloud to our children even after they are reading on their own so they are exposed to a variety of literature forms.

    Thanks for sharing, Melissa!

    Tammy ~@~

  2. says

    We are just now getting into the age of picking their own books consistently and not always getting what I think is good for them to read.
    You are right though, I need to make it a balance and not a struggle.

  3. says

    I’ll have to try the Series of Unfortunate Events. It’s one of the few audio CDs in the library that we haven’t listened to already. Fav’s of ours have been By The Great Horn Spoon, The Great Turkey Walk, Down the Yukon, Mrs. PiggleWiggle, Boxcar Children, Henry Huggins and the Little House stories. *sigh* good times, good times! (Sign of the Beaver was amazing, by the way).

    I have also found the reading at bedtime is a wonderful incentive. Starting tomorrow :) bedtime will be 8:30pm, although they will be allowed to read in bed until at least 9pm.


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