If you’re reading this blog, it’s probably because you want to help a child in your life develop a love of reading. Recently, I heard a quote from Jim Trelease, famed author of The Read-Aloud Handbook. Jim’s quote,”You can’t catch a cold or love of reading from a person who has neither.” Ah…do you see where I’m going with this? Take a minute to reflect on your own passion for reading. Do you read daily? Do the children in your life see you read? Do you talk about books, articles, ideas? Do you reach for a book when you need information? Do you visit the library or a book store on a regular basis? Do you often choose reading over screen time? Do books live in almost every room in your house? Do you grab a book or magazine on the way out in anticipation of chance to read? Have you finish at least four books so far this year? If you answer yes to many of these questions, chances are you’re doing a good job modeling a love of reading to the youngsters in your care. If you had a few too many “no’s” but truly wish you were more committed and passionate about reading, here are three simple suggestions to fuel your passion and whet your appetite for good literature that touches your heart.
1. Track down several (at least five or six) short pieces of literature that come highly recommended. These can a combination of be picture books, informational articles, short stories or poetry.
2. Read each one at least once, savoring the language, visualizing the images, and reflecting upon the writer’s craft and message.
3. Respond to each one after reading. This response can take the form of writing or discussing the text with another person. Be sure to consider your reaction and how the piece of literature impacted you. What will you hold onto? What changed you? What message will you take into your life?
Making a conscious effort to slow down, reread parts of the text, consider the meaning and message that it holds, is at the heart of developing an appreciation of the role of reading in your life. Use these steps to immerse yourself in the experience of reading meaningful text. My guess is that you will surprise yourself, continue to reach for more positive reading experiences, and quickly become addicted to reading. Before long, not only will you be answering yes to most of those questions, but you will live with the conviction that the children in your life will be able to “catch” a love of reading from you.
If any of you have great text suggestions to help jumpstart this challenge, please send them along