Archive for January, 2015

How to Cultivate a Love for Reading in Young Children

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015

children reading
One of my biggest joys as a parent has been to watch my kids’ reading skills develop.

Last year, Abby participated in the local Battle of the Books competition at her school and her team won first place in the fourth grade across several elementary schools. It was a moment  that beamed with parental pride–the quiet joy of accomplishment.

Now, as I watch my 2-year-old scurry over to my lap with a stack of board books, I wonder where the path of reading will take him….

 Board-Books

I realize there is a nature v. nurture element to reading: some of us might not be born-readers. I certainly wasn’t as a child. But, there are things you can do now for your children to nurture their love for reading, even if it’s not part of their nature.

1. Read to them early.  I think I started reading to my kids as soon as it held their attention, probably around 3 months.  Board books with bright colors and short sentences are perfect for the infant and toddler stages.

 Jonathan-Moby-Dick

2. RhymeTime.  Even as an adult, I still love poems and stories that rhyme. When my kids were young, we read Dr. Seuss almost every night. (I think I still have Green Eggs and Ham memorized.)

Not only are rhymes fun to read and hear, but research suggests that rhyming jumpstarts a child’s reading career:

“Because rhyming words – words that have sounds in common – often share spelling sequences in their written form, children sensitive to rhymes are well equipped to develop their reading.” Bookstart.org.uk

 

3. Storytime. Your local library is an amazing resource for children, even at a very young age. Most libraries have story times for babies and young children that incorporate music, story telling, and rhymes. My kids L O V E D story time at the library. I’m thankful that such a fun (and free) activity developed their love for reading at such an early age.

 

Kids at Library

4. Books as Toys. Leave a basket of board books wherever you keep your children’s toys. That way, the books will catch their eye as much as the shiny, red fire trucks.

5. Develop a nighttime ritual.  Read to your kids every night before they go to bed. It doesn’t have to be anything super long. Reading is a calming activity for children and the sound of your voice will soothe them right before they go to sleep.

6. Books on CD. Once my kids dropped their afternoon nap (the horror!), they still had an hour-long quiet time in their rooms after lunch. When they were old enough to follow along (around age 3), I left books on CD in their rooms. They loved listening for the sound of the beep to turn the page. When they followed along in the book before they could read,  I think it helped them recognize words later on.

 

7. Teach your child to read in 100 Easy Lessons.

Teach-Your-Child-to-Read

 When you think you’re kids are ready, and only if you want to, you can teach your kids to read on their own with this book. I taught my oldest to read before he started kindergarten, and I swear my daughter learned just by listening along. The lessons are hands-on and only 20 minutes per day. My kids never seemed overwhelmed; in fact, they were eager to do the next day’s lesson.

IMG_4282

IMG_4285Happy Reading!

Next week, I’ll post about our favorite books for different age levels.

What are the reading rituals in your family?

Pressing In.

Thursday, January 1st, 2015

Happy-New-Year

 

Happy 2015!

As I press into a new year, I’m reminded of ways that my heart has been pressed, challenged, and encouraged by the gift of writing (and thinking) God has bestowed on others.

I love the way words are put together. And, if you follow my blog at all, you know that I love to share quotes from things I’ve read recently.

I was particularly blown away by one of the final paragraphs in Gilead, which I just finished a few days ago:

“It has seemed to me sometimes as though the Lord breathes on this poor gray ember of Creation and it turns to radiance – for a moment or a year or the span of a life. And then it sinks back into itself again, and to look at it no one would know it had anything to do with fire, or light …. Wherever you turn your eyes the world can shine like transfiguration. You don’t have to bring a thing to it except a little willingness to see. Only, who could have the courage to see it?”

This quote reminds me of a brave woman, who many of us know well through her writing–Kara Tippets–who has fought the good fight, who has run the race well, because she has had the willingness and courage to really SEE.

// May I be willing to SEE this coming year. //

Snowy Wreath

Another thought that stays deep came from my husband on a Sunday morning:

“We prefer the weight of guilt, because we don’t know what to do with the lightness of the gospel.”

G.K. Chesterton puts it this way:

“It’s easy to be heavy, hard to be light.”

I want to press in to this truth this year, to SEE in deeper ways the lightness of the gospel.

Three words come to mind as I think of what could happen if I really accepted this lightness: JOY. FREEDOM. THANKFULNESS.

// May I see joy, freedom, and thankfulness through the lightness of the gospel this coming year. //

 

Finally, I stumbled upon this tweet this summer:

 

Yes.

A pastor-friend of mine once told Duane and me that life is mostly lived in the white spaces, in the waiting between big events.

This truth is hard to accept. I want the big events, but life is really lived in the waiting. It IS a mixture of hope and disappointment, but that’s okay. The groaning and the hope prove that we have real hearts.

// May I have an engaged heart in the white spaces of waiting this coming year. //

Happy New Year to all of you. Thanks for reading.

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What resonated with you this year?

What would you like to truly SEE this coming year?

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