I spent a lot of time by myself as a child, and I learned to read fairly early. “No books at the table,” was my dad’s rant. And much like my kids sneak their phones to the table, I used to sneak a book on my lap to the dinner table. I used to think I was so clever, but of course now I now that sometimes my parents were just too tired to face another battle.
My daughter has inherited a similar appetite for reading. She has a vision disorder and it wasn’t until a few months of learning support and a prescription for glasses in Grade 1 that the switch was flipped and she is now an extremely keen reader. She even reads my texts over my shoulder at times which is tricky – let them read what they want, I say… but maybe not out loud.
One of her favourite things to do is hoard items and I only let her do this with books. We like to visit thrift shops and garage sales to pick up some books to add to our collection.
We recently came across Stillman Books in White Rock (local hidden gem!). Used bookstores are very rare these days. Mr. Stillman definitely has a passion for books. My daughter was quite enchanted by the entire room devoted to children’s books! New experiences involving books can be pretty magical.
Keeping children’s love of books alive, in my experience, means exposing them to lots of different styles of books. So when we go to the library, I absolutely let her read whatever she wants (including the hideous Captain Underpants), but I also pick out lots of diverse picture books about people just like us – and people nothing like us.
We can’t force our kids to read, but reading along with them as well as providing exposure to all different kinds of books will keep things fresh and interesting.