Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Surround your child with books.

Children feel excited about reading when they feel entitled to books.
Our lives are full of cliques. There are the athletes. The computer geeks. The artists. When someone who is athletic walks into a sporting situation, he feels at home. That's because he's regularly surrounded by sports - he watches it on TV, plays sports, goes to sporting events, reads the sports section of the newspaper, talks to his friends about sports.

Reading is like that. The child who is surrounded by books, who is read to every night, is encouraged to take books out of the library, reads in bed, and sees books as things to be touched, looked at, enjoyed - becomes comfortable in reading situations.

In the wonderful best-seller Freakonomics, they note that there is a correlation between kids who have lots of books in their homes and kids who get good grades. Not "kids who read books," but "kids who have books in their homes." That's because kids who are surrounded by books feel entitled to books and reading.

So whenever they see books outside the home, they feel comfortable picking them up and flipping through them. When the teacher opens a book to read to the class, their eyes light up because they know what's coming (something exciting).

Children who feel entitled to books will read more and enjoy it more. So one simple way to encourage a life-long reading habit is to fill your child's bookshelves so he always has lots of choices, and develops a sense of entitlement about reading.

1 comment:

Michele K. said...

I've been thinking about this post for a few days now and what you said is true (not that I doubted that)! I loved books as a child and was surrounded by them. And I am *still* surrounded by them! Often I try to thin my collection of over 2000 books, but I just can't. And now whenever I find a copy of one of my childhood books in a secondhand bookstore, it brings back a flood of wonderful memories and I can't resist finding space for just one more book to follow me home!
Keep up the great site!