Sunday, October 24, 2010
Learning to love to read
There is an important distinction to be made between learning to read and loving to read. Learning to read requires mastering several skills. It's the cornerstone of education and a necessary foundation for learning across a standard curriculum and beyond. A parent or caregiver can certainly teach or assist in teaching a child how to read but this series of lessons can also be outsourced to a great teacher. Loving to read is more about interest, personal connection and joy. Helping your child cultivate a love of reading is not something that can be outsourced; rather it's one of the most important and wonderful gifts you can give a child. It starts with snuggling together and reading to and with your young child every day. It involves letting your children see you enjoying books of your own. It requires letting each person in the family identify or create their favorite reading spot. And it involves choice. When learning to read and acquiring comprehension skills at school, kids read books that are considered "just right" for them. The books that will help them cultivate a love of reading are the books that interest them most; the books they want to read. Let your child loose in a bookstore or a library and if they come back with The Butt Book by Artie Bennett (which is a riot!), take the opportunity to giggle along with them and know that you're doing a good thing. If your child is excited about a book do not miss the opportunity to respect their choice - help them through the book if necessary - but support their choice.