Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Give your child the gift of reading

Published on Mommy Hot Spot May 2014

As a teacher of literature, it is sometimes really really hard for us to understand why kids don't want to read. I love books. Reading is such a wonderful way to grow and learn. My mother sparked my love of reading. I remember seeing her at night totally engrossed in a novel, and always wondered what could hold her so captivated. At some point in elementary I remember staying in from recess because I was so engrossed in the Little House on the Prairie books. I was of course seen as kind of nerd because I wanted to read and write all the time as a little kid. I wrote books when I was ten because I wanted to be Laura Ingalls Wilder. I have learned so much about history, about love, about family, about friendships, about sacrifice, about life from reading countless books.

But as English teachers we are often fighting a never ending battle to share our love of reading. Most times they fight us every step of the way on reading, but you'd be surprised at the enlightment and excitement a group of adolescents show when you start reading out loud to them The Crucible, Night, Of Mice and Men, Shakespeare, or Charles Dickens. They start off fighting us but are then ready for us to read to them everyday to get that anticipated climax or ending. They still don't want to read it themselves but the quietest I ever get my rambunctious  classes are when I read to them. They are little children again on the edge of their seat, quietly listening to the story unfold. I am often left asking myself, "have they ever been read to?" "Who told them reading is not fun?" "Why do they not see reading as being so vitally important to learning?"

One of the biggest areas of struggle for students on standardized tests is reading comprehension. They can read the words but they don't know how to read. They don't know to read between the lines, how to infer the deeper meanings of the text, how to interact and learn from the message being taught in the reading. There is so much to be gained from reading. And it starts from the moment you set them in your lap at bedtime and read to them. You as their parent bring reading and the endless amounts of learning that can be gained from it to life every night when you read to them or read with them as they get older and start to read. Build a love for books with your child, it is one of the greatest parenting gifts you can give them.


  1. I agree completely about standardized tests. I am always teaching my kids about what the text means and the larger concepts the book brings up. Great post!

  2. I love this post! As an avid reader who loved reading as a kid, when I was pregnant with my son I remember wondering and reading about the best ways to help children fall in love with books, so we started reading to "the bump", reading to our son when he was a newborn, and just reading to ourselves around him. It makes me feel so happy that at 2 and a half, he loves reading books and initiates it on his own. I hope we can continue to help guide him in that direction because I agree that it is truly one of the best gifts you can give your children. It also doesn't hurt that my MIL used to be a teacher and sends him new books all the time (love!).