I have to admit that it took me quite a while to develop a love of reading as a child. Reading assignments from school were a complete chore and the term “pleasure reading” seemed like the biggest oxymoron to me (before I actually knew what the word meant, that is). In fact, I will never forget my first trip to Disney World. We traveled along with my cousin “V,” who was the same age as me and LOVED to read. “V” decided to bring along an extra suitcase…filled with books to read on the trip! I thought, Who does that?!! My mom was super impressed and made it a point to continuously comment on the fact that “V” was a reader and I was clearly not. That may have also been the day I learned to roll my eyes.
As years went by, “V,” along with other friends, would share with me some of the stories they had been reading. I would think to myself, “Wow, all of those things happened in that little book? Let me see…” That was pretty much how I started to develop a love of reading that has stuck with me til this day.
My daughter, Leila is now 7 years old and once again proves to be just like me. She generally enjoys reading, but there are some things that I can do as a parent to help foster a LOVE of reading. We recently bought the brand new book by best-selling author James Patterson called Jacky Ha-Ha available on Amazon.com. In short, the book is the story of a mother (Jacky Ha-Ha) telling her daughters the story of what life was like when she was a child and of course, there are tons of references to things that happened when she was a child (and me too). For example, among the first few lines of the book, it includes the following:
The year is 1990. President Bush (the first one) tells the world he doesn’t like broccoli…Donkey Kong is as good as it gets in video games. And guys are wearing mullets.
I thought for sure Leila would find this totally confusing, but instead, it further sparked her curiosity as she remarked things like…”How do you play Donkey Kong?” and “Mullets look like funny hairstyles.”
Over the past few days, I’ve been reading this book along with Leila and, amidst a bunch of great shared laughs, I’ve recognized these five great ways to foster a love of reading in her and young children in general.
1. Find books that specifically cater to their interests.
Leila is pretty well balanced, but she loves a good laugh. This is the child who bought her Granddaddy a rubber chicken for Christmas because she wanted him to laugh. Well, Jacky Ha-Ha was right up her alley! The stories in the book are extremely vivid and even with a few period-specific references, the comedy of it all transcended throughout the generations.
Sure, I know my daughter can read by herself, but spending some time to read with her added that same special bonding experience we had when she was a toddler. She can ask me questions, share her thoughts with me and we can discuss and experience it all together.
3. Relate stories to their everyday life.
That’s the number one way to bring words on a paper to life. Here we were reading a story from the 90s, but she could easily relate it to things going on in her life as well as the lives of her friends. For example, she was intrigued by the fact that Jacky’s mom was deployed, but immediately empathized with one of her cousins whose dad is also currently serving overseas.
4. Relate stories to your life.
This was a big one and helped contribute to our bonding experience. “Mommy, you did that?” She enjoyed hearing – many for the first time – some of my similarities to various things that Jacky Ha-Ha talked about.
5. Encourage them to form a book club.
Grown up book clubs are really fun…usually because they sometimes involve activities other than discussing the book. For kids, it’s a great idea to encourage the same, where they can all get excited about reading and sharing the stories they’ve read about. One of the coolest ideas I’ve found with the launch of this new James Patterson book is a mommy/kid book club! We’ve both been following along the hashtag #HahaBookClub on social media and enjoying reading and hearing both mommy’s and their daughter’s thoughts on Jackie Ha-Ha. This has definitely been a fun and effective way (for both of us) to foster a love of reading.
I want to invite all of you to check out this new James Patterson Book, Jacky Ha-Ha, follow and share via #HahaBookClub! I look forward to hearing all of your stories! Here’s a quick review of Jacky Ha-Ha from your very own…Leila!
What are some ways you’ve been successful in fostering a love of reading in your little ones?
Disclosure: I have received compensation for this post as part of a promotional program with MomSelect. As always, all opinions are my own.