My Life With Twins: Raising Readers
I love books. If you have been
in our house, this statement will not surprise you. We have at least one bookshelf in every single room of the house. The exception is the bathrooms, which have baskets for magazines.
We are a reading family.
Should it surprise me then that they twin’s favorite playthings are not the blocks, or the Little People, or even the dollies? No, it should be no surprise at all that these girls love BOOKS!
At sixteen months old they like to sleep with their books, be read books and even “read” their books to me. They carry around their books, stack them like blocks, and spend long periods of time just turning the pages.
I love technology almost as much as I love books, so the girls have even been exposed to electronic storybooks. We have several story apps on our iPad that are not only great for my emerging reader, Ethan, but also engaging for his little sisters.
I’ve been blessed with six children who love to read. The boys may struggle with math, or getting homework done, or even sitting still, but reading is a skill that they have seemed to master.
Here are my tips for raising readers:
- Make your home “print friendly”. You don’t have to purchase a lot of books to have a lot of books. If books are not in your budget, invest in time at the library. Make sure that your home has comfortable, well lit places to read. Keep a variety of reading materials on hand. Our children’s grandparents do a great job of subscribing to interesting magazines for the boys so that they always have something new and interesting to read. A well placed bookshelf with a variety of reading materials will be an attractive place for children to explore their interests.
- Be a reader. Reading is an activity that we model. If our children see that something is important to us, it will also be important to them. So take the time to sit and read, and let your children see it.
- Read to your children. This may seem like a no brainer, especially in the toddler and preschool years when your child cannot read for herself, but it is also important for infants, and older children who can read. The older boys still enjoy being read to, and I take the opportunity to read books to them that may be above their own reading level, but still are interesting. This last year I read Around the World in 80 Days to my sixth grader. He loved it, but never would have picked it up on his own.
- Buy books as gifts. Some of my favorite books have been gifts. I still remember my mother giving me the book Beezus and Ramona as a gift when I was in about the third grade. I then devoured it and every other Beverly Cleary book that I could get my hands on. I have trouble spending money on books for myself, but I have always appreciated them as gifts. Our children know that they will receive at least one book every Christmas.
- Suggest your favorite books. Children often need guidance on what books will be good to read. I’ve learned the individual interests of our children and they now generally trust my suggestions.
- Let them know it is OK not to finish a book. Let’s be honest, I don’t finish every book I start. I am not indebted to the author to read an entire book (unless, of course, I have agreed to review the book). Children feel much less pressure about reading if they know that they can stop reading a book at any time. Reading should be enjoyable, not a chore.
- Rewarding Reading is a a good thing. I grew up reaping the rewards of a summer reading program, and I encourage our children to do the same. They enjoy setting reading goals and meeting or even exceeding them. To all of my local readers, don’t forget, the Summer Reading Kick-off event is Friday, June 3, at the Capitol grounds!
Chime in! Is reading an enjoyable activity for you? How was reading encouraged during your childhood? Do you feel like you have encouraged your kids to read enough, or is this an area you can improve on? You Know I’d love to hear from you!
Do you have twins, are expecting twins or know someone who is? Make sure you click on over to my “Got Twins?” page and learn more about the wonders of twindom! Lots of advice and experience from pregnancy, breast feeding and beyond!