When you develop a life-long love of reading in your child, it is one of the greatest gifts you can give to him or her. Reading is the most crucial part of a good education, and no one should go a day without it. It is as necessary for the development and nourishment of our minds as food is for our bodies.
Our modern world is filled with an enormous amount of visual stimuli, and it is easy to forget how a good book can transport us to other worlds, places that are limited only by our imaginations. The more technologically-advanced our world becomes, however, the harder it will be to convince our children that slowing down to read a good book is actually a worthwhile pursuit. One way to stave off any negative trappings of modernity is by starting early with your children. They should fall in love with books long before they can actually read books.
When you read to your small child, be sure to read with energy, affecting your voice, your emotions, and your volume, as the story demands. Have your child, as soon as she is able, re-tell the story to you, making sure she understands the basic plot and characters. Allowing your child to “follow” along, pointing to the words as you read them, will give your child a head start on reading, spelling, and vocabulary.
When your child first begins to read on her own, encourage her to have a pen and a journal at her side. I have found I gain much more from reading when I jot down thoughts, initial impressions, or emotions that occur to me while I’m reading. Develop this habit early in your child, because it is harder to discipline yourself to do it the older you get.
Keep your child interested in reading by keeping your child interested. What do I mean? Whatever subject your child happens to be most curious about at any given point, let him explore that subject exhaustively through books. Almost invariably, a tangential topic, stemming from the original one, will eventually catch his eye, and he’ll be on his way to becoming an expert on that topic, as well. After a few years of this type of exploration, you will end up with a child who has practically educated himself on a large variety of topics.
Children who grow up with reading as an integral part of their lifestyles often enter college as anything but “undecided”. They’ve experienced so much through reading that they have been able, over the years, to weed out those things less-interesting to them, and, instead, focus on those subjects most fascinating to them. At any age, we all benefit greatly from reading. With the few words I’ve given you to read here, if anything, I hope I’ve given you the desire to read more, as well as to encourage your child to do the same.