The subject line might sound a tad earnest but The Fableists do love kids’ books! We will be featuring book related stories like reviews and interviews on our blog in the coming months.
Like The Fableists’ clothes, treasured books are kept or passed on. I have most of the books from my own childhood. They have moved around the world by now and holding on to them has probably cost a fortune but they’re family heirlooms. Some of them are out of print, some are representative of a time and place, some show that the pages were read over and over by two children (and now four more) and some are signed.
I think every parent worries at some point about their child’s reading and with school systems eager to get kids reading earlier and earlier, the pressure is on, for parents and for the kids. Getting children to love reading is a long term project and can take a lot of effort and patience.
So, how can we get our kids to love (or at least like) to read?
Start young: there is nothing so lovely as having your little one perched on your lap, snuggling and sharing a story. But it is never too late. Y
Younger children are drawn to colourful pages with bits they can touch and feel. Each book is an exciting adventure and you can build on that as they get bigger. For an older child who isn’t so keen, try to find books that suit their interests. I remember one Christmas my brother got Murder at the Superbowl (or something like that) – not exactly a great work of literature but he read it.
Don’t push your readers before they’re ready and always let them take backwards steps. Even a competent reader likes to relax and disappear in to big, colourful pictures. Reading has to be fun. Try graphic novels, comics or funny poems – it’s still reading. Encourage and applaud any reading.
We make buying books something really special in our family. Same with visiting the library, reading stories and anything around books. Buying books is a treat for our kids. The first place we visit in a town or village is the local book shop. Finding a good children’s book shop is worth its weight in gold. The kids all spread out and find books and sit down and flip through them.
My kids also love going to the library. We try to make it a weekly trip. Let them choose the books they want to read – mine never read the ones I ‘suggest’. If you are trying to build up your own collection of books, libraries are always selling off their old stock to make room for new books. Local boot sales, yard sales, bric-a-brac and antique markets usually have books for sale too. Getting books should be made as special and exciting as getting a toy.
Give your kids as much motivation as possible to be keen on books. Let them see you reading. Make the buying/borrowing of books a special occasion and when you are reading to or with your child, eliminate distractions, sit close to them, talk to your child about the book, let them tell you what they think and give them your undivided attention. If reading is a special family activity, they will learn to share your passion.