Want kids to read? Read yourself
In case you missed it, today's News-Herald has a story by Jacob Lammers headlined "Teachers, librarians work to develop kids as readers." In it he talks to the Herros who brought their grandchildren to the Perry Public Library this week for its monthly Reading Patch Club.
Programs like these are marvelous ways to encourage children to read, to develop a love of reading and to learn how to read critically.
But the greatest program in the world won't help a child with any of those things without a caring adult to take them there.
I don't want to downplay the importance of talented teachers, many of whom influenced my own love of reading. And I'm certainly not going to knock libraries, when the smell of books can rivals the scent of new shoes as a cure for a bad day.
But let's not lose sight of the importance of parents and grandparents and siblings in this equation.
I've said it before and I'm sure I will say it again: Among the greatest gifts my mother gave me is the love of reading.
Not only because trips to the library were routine for us or because she was and still is a terrific recommender of reading material. But because she was always reading. She didn't tell me to read; she just read. While dinner was cooking on the stove, she sat at the kitchen table and read. At night while I was enthralled with "Happy Days" or "Fantasy Island," she was reading. On family car trips while some were arguing over the radio station (can you imagine the horror of pre-iPod road trips?!!), she was reading. She made a much more powerful statement through her actions than any words possibly could have.
I have tried to model this same behavior with my own kids. They don't read as much as I did at their age - perhaps because they're not as socially awkward as I was! - but they are both avid readers.
So, thank you, mom.
And thank you, Herros, and all the other parents and grandparents doing their best to instill a love of reading.
- Tricia Ambrose
P.S. Today's word at dictionary.com is lucifugous, which means avoiding light. Isn't that a great word?