Cultivating a Love of Learning: Read Away!

There is nothing more sad than seeing a child who has lost his/her passion for learning.

I’ve had a number of conversations on this issue lately, so I’ve decided to write this series. Whether we homeschool or send our children to a public or private school, we are the most important teachers they will encounter. In fact, although we are sending the Bean to a public school and private therapy, I see our home as an extension of both. While her teachers and therapists are important adults in her life, Rob and I are still her role models, and I think of us as a homeschooling family, even though she is being educated in a public school. I see the Bean as having the advantage of experts to work with, while we monitor and reinforce it all.

It is at home where children learn to love learning.

Rob and I have talked, and we know that we have a child with a disability. More difficult that this, however, would be to have a child who lost their love of learning.

So, wearing both my teacher hat and my parent hat, I am going to discuss some ways to increase that love of learning. Today, we’re talking about reading. Schools teach reading in kindergarten; kids are doing it regularly in first grade. There is little time for exploration and fun; that is the job of the parents. Here is how we are doing it (or planning on doing it, when she’s older):

1. Read to your child a lot. It doesn’t matter what age they are. Teenagers LOVE being read to. Adults do too! Everyone loves to listen to a good story, and it can be an incredible bonding experience. Read to your newborn (think rhyming and single-word-per-page books!), and keep reading every night, even when they seem like they’re too old for it.

2. Make reading a routine. Right now, I read to the Bean while she is in her bath, then we read more when she gets out, before bed. Later, we might share a novel before bed, with us taking turns reading a page. Or we will read a novel as a family, maybe with Daddy and I doing the reading.

3. Do some reading yourself. Lots of it. Nothing testifies to the fun of reading like seeing you glued to that novel, in the last 3 chapters, unable to put it down.

4. Subsribe to a magazine. Beanie loes it when High Five comes in the mail, just for her. She will insist on me reading it cover to cover when it arrives. Then it goes on her shelf, and we read it over and over.

5. When they can read, let them choose their own books. It doesn’t matter if they are too easy. They will be challenged at school. Don’t you enjoy light reading in the summer? (Or on the Internet, say, right now…)

6. If you have a reluctant reader, go with non-fiction. They won’t read every word, but they will pick out fun facts to share and be excited about. Kids love being an “expert” on something.

7. There are fun chapter books, that are easier reads as well. Junie B Jones, Captain Underpants, and The Magic Treehouse are some great series for reluctant readers.

8. If all else fails, look into graphic novels. These are comic books. They use visuals, along with the stories. Give them a try!

I hope these ideas help you to motivate the little reader in your house!

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