By ANDREW GREENE
Understandably, tempted by gaming consoles, cable television, pirated DVD’s and gadgets galore, the children of today’s
Walk the walk
The power of parent modeling is immense. Scatter books, magazines, newspapers about your house. Place a magazine rack in your bathroom. You need to lower the television remote control and raise a fist of words. Make the sacrifice. In all honesty, will knowing the latest about
Do not talk about reading
Read with your children
Scheduling a few evenings each week for your family to read together is a wonderful idea. By sharing this time with your children, you will show them that reading is an important and pleasurable hobby, not a penance. You can take turns reading paragraphs, pages, or chapters aloud to one another and then discuss favorite characters, happenings and anything else of interest that comes up. Not only is this habit a great way for you to foster a love for reading, it will also help you lay the lines of communication that are important to all families.
Create a reading station
Place some large pillows or cushiony chairs in a comfortable well-lighted corner of your home. This can become your family’s dedicated reading spot. If possible, it would be nice if you could border the area with low, eye-level shelves, enabling your kids to display their books and magazines in this area of importance.
Schedule a weekly, fortnightly, or monthly book day
You can elect a different family member to be the leader of each book day. The leader has the responsibility of choosing which bookstore to visit and perhaps even of picking the topic that all the club members need to try to find reading materials about. You, of course, can help your children make these choices by suggesting subjects that relate to what is presently happening in their lives. If your family has an upcoming holiday planned for the hills, a recommendation to learn about volcanoes or tea farms would be in fine standing.
Some local bookstores have scheduled readings or author visits. These could easily be plugged into your family’s book day schedule.
Once back home, in the embrace of your family’s reading station, the leader can read aloud to the group her new purchase. Then you all may discuss the reading along with the rest of the club members’ purchases.
Make reading journals
Using large notebooks, your children can craft reading journals covered with their own decorated designs. They may write about what they like and dislike in their readings and record any news words, phrases or ideas they uncover. You will then be able to respond in writing to your children’s thoughts. It is important to remember that your family reading station is a place where your children are discovering how to enjoy exploring and playing with language, so you should avoid correcting your children’s journal entrees.
Most of All
Have fun. The above ideas are merely suggestions. We all need to keep in mind that life-long habits grow from activities that produce positive returns. You, the parent, know best what rocks your children’s socks and by your being tuned into these desires, your children will soon be as excited about an upcoming book day as they are about the next broadcasting of High School Musical.
(Sidebar, one of one)
How to Choose Children’s Books
· Stay with the known. Look for readings that match your children’s interests, characteristics and life. Kids enjoy reading about people and situations they relate to.
· Explore the unknown. Children love learning about something new.
· Mix it up. Help your children build a wide-ranging library stocked with fiction, non-fiction, the classics, and fantasy.
· Open the book and read a few pages. You know your children best, do you think the material will grab your children’s attention?
· Read book reviews, www.amazon.com is loaded with both editorial and reader reviews. You and your children are also able to post your own reviews. Writing online reviews is a great way to stoke your children’s interest in both reading and writing.
· Ask for advice from other parents, bookstore clerks and, if you have access to libraries, librarians.
This article was published in The Jakarta Post’s On Words Column Sunday, 17 June 2007.