By Jayne Griffin
Director of Education
The ragged pieces of the book sat on the table for days waiting – maybe begging – to be replaced. If only those pages could talk, they would probably say, “Give me a break from all of the action. PLEASE bring in a fresh copy!”
The book in question – Kisses by Barney Saltzberg – had been a favorite of my 5-year-old grandson in his younger years and was now in his 2-year-old sisters’ top-10. Not only had the slides, flaps and pulls in the well-loved book been mangled by little fingers, but it has been a“read-it-again” book that has been cuddled a bit too close during nap times for years.
Though the girls still love their board books,their brother has moved on to more mature reading including fact-filled books about his favorite subject: dinosaurs. Hill’s new preference in reading material seemed to come overnight as he matured and moved from the interactive board book phase to the books with more print and facts. Though he is still working on decoding skills and not yet a full-fledged reader, this mid-term kindergartner LOVES his books.
And that is a critical factor in learning to read and LOVING to read. I follow the research that says children who have been read have a better chance of becoming avid readers, but Scholastic Inc. reports that reading frequency has fallen since 2010 among children older than 8.
It’s not hard to figure out that at age 8, reading for pleasure competes with other activities including screen time and phone time. Yet, reading for pleasure has many benefits including developing vocabulary, use of the imagination, making discoveries and can be an indicator of success in school. Though the temptations of screen time are great, try one of the following to ensure that your children are reading for fun.
- Create screen-free time zones in your home where everyone reads for a given period of time. Then let the family members share bits and pieces of what they read during the time.
- Don’t EVER stop reading to your children. Chapter books are great read-alouds and can become a great way to get your whole family into the classics. There are lots of lists on the Internet with great ideas for books the entire family will enjoy. Consider having a family meal themed around your current family read-aloud.
- Make reading time fun! Pop some pop corn and get some pillows or blankets to spread on the floor as you cozy up to your favorites.
As much as I want to hang on to my grandchildren’s sweet young years, it so so exciting to watch as they become readers who will LOVE reading to ME!