Periodically I get asked questions about how my children became lovers of books. Today I wanted to explore a few of the strategies that have worked really well for my family. The key has been that our kids are constantly surrounded by books and see my husband and I read all the time. Kids will mimic what they see.
1) Read all the time. When my kiddos are infants I started by reading to them any moment we were sitting down. Before they could sit up or hold the book, we’d cuddle in a rocking chair with a pile of board books. There are an amazing assortment of books, but here are a few I love to this day:
- Guess How Much I Love You,
- Dr. Seuss’ A, B, C
- Goodnight Moon,
- Barnyard Dance, and
- Beatrice Potter stories.
2) Utilize the library. As their attention spans increased, we started taking trips to the library. We’d bring home books and books and more books. We moved to picture books. A discovery we made with the help of a librarian are the Iza Trapani books. These are beautifully illustrated with delightful characters. They each start with a well-loved nursery rhyme that the author spins off in delightful directions. Particular favorites are Row, Row, Row Your Boat, How Much is that Doggie in the Window, and Baa, Baa Black Sheep. Of course, I have to sing these, which adds to the fun.
3) Discover the classics together. Books like Make Way for Ducklings, Blueberries for Sal, Madeleine, Curious George, Dr. Seuss. There are a reason these books are still being read. Look for books with great illustrations as they excite your child’s imagination and encourage them to retell the stories by reading the pictures.
4) Engage in the story. Interact with it by using different voices for different characters. Read with lots of inflection. Your kids will pick up on that when they start reading. My kids insist no one else can read the books because I have voices for each character. This adds to the fun of listening.