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Patriot Perspective: Instill a love of reading in children

Reading helps us in every area of our lives.

It helps us become successful in school and later in our careers and it helps us grow as individuals by either teaching us new information or by allowing us to step into someone else’s shoes.

Reading can also help us become more compassionate and empathetic, as well as give us pure enjoyment and relaxation.

February is when many schools and libraries celebrate I Love to Read Month. It is a month-long celebration for all things reading.

Some may wonder what is the big deal about reading and will ask why it takes a month to celebrate. I would argue that a month is not nearly long enough.

Reading should be celebrated, practiced, practiced and then practiced some more as it is the foundation for life in so many ways. Instilling a love of reading in your child is one of the best gifts you can give them in their life.

Here are 10 ways to do just that. (All these ideas were “stolen” from a variety of sources and personal experiences.)

1. Read to them regularly, with expression and in different voices.

2. Model reading. Let your child see you read often. It can be cookbooks, magazines, the newspaper, novels or non-fiction.

3. Talk about the books or articles you have been reading. This is a great thing to do at dinnertime. Share the excitement or intrigue you have experienced.

4. Schedule 30 minutes after dinner or every Thursday evening as “Family Reading Time.”

5. Buy books where their name appears. This is a fabulous technique for encouraging reluctant readers! It worked brilliantly with me as a child. I used to be the student who would read the first and last chapter of a book, along with the summary, and write a book report. Powerful, yet so simple!

6. Find books that come with a CD either in bookstores or the library so your child can listen and follow along. This is also a fantastic way to encourage reluctant readers or to keep the motivation high for those children who are struggling with learning how to read.

7. Always give books as at least one part of a birthday, Christmas, Easter or holiday gift.

8. Give books “just because” for teamwork tasks (aka chores) being well done or because you noticed them demonstrating a positive virtue like compassion.

9. Take your child to the library regularly. It could be to participate in a library program or just to hang out and read. What about making every second Saturday your family’s library day and follow it up with a hot chocolate so you can all talk about the books you read?

10. Read aloud books that have been made into movies and then watch the movie and do a comparison about which was better — the book or the movie.

Happy reading!