Well I think so, and that’s the message I am trying to pass on to my children, but how do you do that successfully in a world full of gadgets, gizmos and reality TV?
Books have always been a big part of my life. I didn’t have piles of toys as a child as my parents weren’t particularly well off but I did have books. Again, not many, but books I loved to read over and over again. Favourites included anything by Enid Blyton, the What Katy Did series and one I really adored, Charlotte Sometimes. I also loved reading poetry and joke books and remember spending hours in bed at the weekend reading these before everyone else had woke up. I still read for pleasure now.
We’ve always surrounded our children with books, with bedtime story routines beginning when they were only about 4 months old (It it bedtime Wibbly Pig?). They’ve always had books for birthday and Christmas presents and their bedrooms are full of books of all types. As toddlers, their little heads were always in books and they were fascinated turning the pages over looking at all the brightly coloured pictures and then there was nothing nicer than getting cosy together with a book together at the end of the day. I still, even now they are 9 & 7 spend time reading out loud to them which they really love.
I’m fortunate enough that my children have both turned into great readers. My daughter took to it like a duck in water and is flying way ahead of where she needs to be. My son was a real slow reluctant starter but has now almost caught my daughter up. She favours poetry, he prefers non-fiction. They have reading targets at school which is checked weekly, and they have to read at least four times a week to get their house points, which they always achieve with a bit of reminding from me but what I am struggling with now is how do I make them WANT to read?
Whilst in the mornings in bed, more often than not they’ll be found with their nose in a book, at any other time of the day they would never choose to read a book. I’m constantly met with “I’m bored” at the weekend and I’ll tell them to go read a book but they won’t because what they really want is for me to say “put the TV on” or “play Minecraft”. Neither of these is bad but I really hope they get to the point where they want to go read a book because they enjoy it and want to escape into that make-believe world because reading can be SO rewarding.
I am conscious of not pushing them to read too hard and maybe they’re still too young to want to read for pleasure when so much of it seems so tightly tied up with school and learning but I do so dearly hope they discover one day that feeling of excitement when reading a story for the first time, of not wanting to go to sleep because you want to finish a book and the mix of emotions when you finally get to the end of a book. Reading is a rollercoaster!
Before I go I will share this poster that I once saw, The Rights of the Reader, I love it and it makes me feel better when I hate a book so much I don’t want to continue!
Maybe you’ve got some hints or tips for me?