Just one more book mama? One more chapter? One more page? This has been the echo of Reese following me out of her bedroom each night since she could talk. Every night for the last 6 years she has fallen asleep amidst a pile of books. Her desk and the floor next to her bed is a book disaster zone, but dang if it’s not the one mess in her room that makes me smile. Watching my daughter become a reader has truly been one of my greatest joys so far in this parenting gig.
I know mama, that in those early years, you don’t want to read any more Moo, Baa, La La La!, Elephant and Piggie, or Hop on Pop. But those little board books, edges chewed and soft with slobber, once held in chubby hands that still have those sweet dimples, you’ll miss them. Because one day, there in her bed all alone, she’ll be reading to herself from her own chapter books. She’ll be sounding out words without your help and you’ll find yourself yearning for the days she was snuggled in your arms, and you were the one reading “goodnight moon, goodnight room…”
It’s inevitable that you’ll get here though. And it’s not all sad and bad either. When you’re raising a child who has 42,674 questions a day, you’ll find that once she’s a reader, you can hand her a book or queue up Google on your smartphone and let her find the answers to her questions. This alone is worth having a reader y’all. It’ll save you so much aggravation → and you know what else? You’re going to start learning new stuff too. Because now that you’ve got a reader, you’ve also got a bottomless source of facts. Now you too can know why males have nipples, why fireflies butts’ glow, and what makes a car engine go.
3 TIPS FOR RAISING READERS
If you’re hoping to turn your little one into a reader as well, here are a few of the things we did at home to help turn Reese into the reader that she is.
- Build your child a library and read to them everyday. Every holiday, we give Reese something to read. Family and friends know that books are always welcome and appreciated too. Utilize the public library and let your little one pick out the books that they are interested in. From an early age Reese loved nonfiction – animals, vehicles, and especially dinosaurs. So we filled her book shelves with books about those things and she always wanted to read one. Figure out what your kid loves and find all the books about it.
- Establish a reading habit or schedule. What does this look like? Find a regular time of day where books are enjoyed and available and just let them look. For many of us, nighttime works best. We’ve read every night at bedtime since the day we brought her home (hyperlink lauras book post here). It’s part of our routine that has always signaled bedtime is near and it is time that is special to both of us. We set the tone (early) about reading and you better believe we encourage it. We also model it (<– so important). She sees Michael and I read all the time – she knows how much we love it too.
- Finally, and most important in our house – Reese has her own reading light and we let her read until she’s tired. We read together, sing our songs and give our kisses, and then she reads on her own. And you know what? Rarely has she abused that privilege. She knows when she’s tired and she knows when she can read two more chapters. Once in a while I have to poke my head in and tell her to finish the page and it’s time for lights out, but mostly, she self monitors very well.
So, what do you think? Is there a tip you would add to the list that helped you foster a love of reading for your child? We’d love to know so we can add them into our routines in our homes too. Fingers crossed I find Reese curled up with a new chapter book this afternoon and that I can get lost in my newest novel also.