How to Raise a Book Lover

JMJ10  *Remember to be an example.  If you are never found on the couch reading literature of some sort, how can you expect your kids to do so?  Rediscover the joy of a good book yourself.

Ring the School Bell 10/180 Days

A pleasant flow dominated the day, an absolute contrast to yesterday.  A nice thing about summers in southern California, because of the low humidity, is that even on heat-intense days, it can be nice and cool in the morning and evenings.  So before settling down to academics, I thought I would get in a little gardening, one of my favorite past-times.

Apparently I didn’t get out there quick enough, though, so before long, drenched with sweat, I retreated back indoors.  I checked in on Sarah, who needed little assistance as she delved through her vocabulary book and algebra, where she explored the domain and range of equations.

Melissa, on the other hand, was bewildered by “cancellation opportunities” in the multiplication of fractions. She didn’t quite understand why something she considered so complex, was called an “opportunity”.  Good point!  After a few attempts at an explanation, I felt the concept just needed to sink in for a while so we went on to something else.

Melissa’s favorite past-time is to read.  Homeschooling provides her with the benefit of filling her afternoons full of books.  First, it was the Mysterious Benedict Society series, then the 39 Clues series, then the Percy Jackson Series, among others.  I took a photo of her engrossed in her Percy Jackson book today,  while sporting a cute little hat.  I secretly wished Percy Jackson could teach her math too. He would probably do a more effective job!

Finally, I edited Sabrina’s English college essay on the negative impact of fast food advertising on kids, as well as I could.

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Melissa lost in a book

As for our bunny boarders, we can remarkably distinguish all the bunnies by name now, all five of them, even though they are all a similar shade of brown.  Kim, the bunnies’ owner, came by with her kids to check in on them. To cool them off, we carefully dunked them in a basin of water, one-by-bun, ha ha, I made a joke!  The bunnies loved it.  Icy frozen water bottles provided them additional refreshment.  Triple digits still reign, as I desperately wish for a soothing tropical summer rain.

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How to Raise a Book Lover, like Melissa

After your children have reached a certain level of reading proficiency, how can you keep  them engaged, with the hopes of them becoming lifelong readers?  Here are some ideas:

  • Keep reading aloud with them.  It is such a bonding time when parent and child read together.  They will most likely enjoy it for much longer than you may have anticipated.  If you have several siblings somewhat close together in age, make it a family event.  Follow their interests.  Some recommendations including Winnie the Pooh stories, Dr. Seuss books, E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little, and The Boxcar Children series.
  • Once they are reading on their own, try to find series which they can get “hooked” on.  It will amaze you how this one tactic might increase their reading fluency almost overnight.  When Melissa was little, she read every single one of the series The Boxcar Children, Mysterious Benedict Society, and the Series of Unfortunate Events.  When she was a little older, she devoured the 39 Clues series as well as the Percy Jackson series.  Now, she is much older, and continues to be an avid reader, mostly of fiction.
  • Don’t forget the classics.  Integrating the classics into their curriculum, (if you are homeschooling it is easier to do this) may arouse interest in literature from days past.  Sabrina absolutely fell in love with Jane Austen books, and I believe read just about everything written by her.  She also loved books written by the Brontë sisters, including Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights.  The time to introduce these books are before they move out of the house.  Otherwise, they may never know what they are missing!  Lord of the Rings holds high appeal for many students of this age also.  The idea is to introduce your children to great literature so that they continue to search out great books to read, long after they have flown the coop, so to speak.
  • Sarah learned to read with nonfiction books.  When she was young, I had a heck of a time getting her to read, until I discovered that she really wasn’t interested in the traditional picture books. She loved nonfiction.  As soon as she got “hooked” on those, she started rapidly building her reading fluency.  Now, as a 19 year old college student, she has grown to also love fantasy fiction, but has always retained a love for learning about the cosmos, geography, and anything scientific.  It is important to expose kids to various types of literature, but just as important to listen to what they are trying to tell you about their likes and dislikes.
  • Enjoy family time at the bookstore or the library.  Unfortunately, so many bookstores have closed in our area, but when we can go, it is one of our favorite outings.  We do have a number of used bookstores which are so much fun to browse in.  Our library even has a used bookstore section which the kids migrate to anytime we are there.
  • And finally, remember to be an example.  If you are never found on the couch reading literature of some sort, how can you expect your kids to do so?  Rediscover the joy of a good book yourself.

Good luck in raising your book lover!

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** Note to the Reader- Today’s narrative is an excerpt of our family’s school journey from a few years ago, during my eldest daughter’s senior year in high school, a rather emotional year, with its many ups and downs.

May God shower blessings on your family as he has on mine.    Annette

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Sarah

 

 

 

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