Raise a Reader. #49:2012
As the director of a mid-sized public library in southwestern Ontario and as a kids’ librarian by heart and by training, I am asked at least once a week, “How can I get my kids to read more?” My personal favorite is “My seven year old son only reads dinosaur books. How can I get him reading other stuff?”
My automatic response to these questions is always, “to raise a reader you need to be a reader”. If your children see you reading, dollars to donuts (I think that is a uniquely Canadian, Tim Horton’s phrase), they will grow up to be readers. If your children see you watching television 24/7, they will be television watchers 24/7. It doesn’t matter whether you are reading cereal boxes, magazines, or websites, reading is reading. The best way to get kids to read is to model the behavior.
The second way to raise a reader is to read to them. There is nothing finer than being read to. Whether you are 2 or 82, there is something magical about sharing a story. I have to admit that, as I cruise through the Acquisitions Department and come upon a new picture book (especially a Robert Munsch title), I have been known to pick it up and read it aloud to anyone who will listen. There is magic in being read to!
Canadians have a whole day dedicated to encouraging family reading and literacy. ABC Life Literacy Canada is a non-profit organization that encourages Canadians to read. They connect and mobilize businesses, unions, government, communities, libraries, and individuals to support lifelong learning. Like the Guelph Public Library, ABC Life Literacy Canada envisions a Canada where everyone has the literacy skills they need to live a fully engaged life.
On their website (http://abclifeliteracy.ca/), I particularly like the facts about the impact reading with your kids will have on their whole life. For example, “just 15 minutes a day can improve a child’s literacy skills dramatically and can help a parent improve their skills as well.”
Happy Literacy Day!
Kitty Pope #50 January 2012