I have a confession to make. I did a very poor job of both reading and making time for family reading time in 2014.
Yes, me. The English major, the writer, the avowed lover of words and books. The one who used to read 25 books a year.
Don’t get me wrong, I read a bit in 2014, including the amazing The Invention of Wings, but as a whole, I pretty much sucked in the reading category last year.
And I have no good excuse. It seemed that there was always an errand to be run, a meal to be fixed, a blog post to be written, an email to be returned. None of those are acceptable reasons to not read in a space in which I’m certain my child can see me. Lots of people with to do lists longer than mine manage to make it happen because they know the value of parents reading with kids, even when they’re older.
We had a routine of family reading time when all of us would grab a book, gather in the family room, and read for a set amount of time. My tween seemed to feel a bit less banished, and it showed her that we do view reading as enjoyable. My husband is really good at family reading time. (I swear the piles of clutter don’t call to him and beg for attention like they do me.) And he has gently said that he and my daughter miss me joining in, so for 2015 I made it a goal to read more.
It seemed to fall firmly under the umbrella of “do as I do.” Want your kids to read for fun? Let them see you read for fun.
I’m promising to walk the walk about the importance of reading, and I was reminded why that matters this week when Scholastic released their biannual survey of kids and reading called the “Kids and Family Reading Report.™”
The report found that there are three powerful factors that can predict whether a child (across ALL ages 6-17) will be a frequent reader, or why reading with older kids matters:
1. Children’s level of reading enjoyment;
2. Parents who are frequent readers; and
3. A child’s belief that reading for fun is important.
I’m falling short in a big way on those last two. And the one about “a child’s belief that reading for fun is important” really hit home. It’s a matter for another blog, but I do see reading as fun and I usually operate on the idea that I need to get work done before having fun. I need to change that, especially when it comes to reading.
Instead, I’ll reframe my thinking to see family reading time as an act of love. What could be more important than that? It shows my child that I love her, and that I love books, and a love of books is something I would love to instill in her.
Reading for fun is important, and my child needs to get that message from me.
I’m not just saying that, I have my first two books and have already started the first. ‘m going for a mix of genres, something my daughter’s school is emphasizing. So, I’m starting with Amy Poehler’s Yes Please for a bit of fun (and because you probably know I love her) and then tackling Nurture Shock, which was recommended by several readers as one of 15 favorite teen and tween parenting books.
If your kids are 11 or under, please consider reading aloud to them. It matters, for so many reasons – you can find 7 of them here. The Scholastic study found that 40% of kids ages 6-11 who are no longer read aloud to say they wish their parents had continued. In addition, more than 80% of kids ages 6-17 say they loved or liked a lot being read aloud to.
You can check out the full report at scholastic.com/readingreport.
Prior Post: Is the website Meez safe for kids?
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