Did you know that there is a secret to developing children into voracious, lifetime readers? Here are some clues:
It's not the school district you live in.
It's not having a particular teacher.
It's not how much money you make.
It's not being a stay at home parent.
It's not dependent on the parent's education.
So many kids hate to read! They are capable and they can read, but they don't (and many times when they do read, the quality of their books is dismal). However, their ability to become lifetime readers has a direct impact on their future careers and socioeconomic status. Plus, there are so many amazing benefits that can be gained from reading. Sadly, this problem doesn't end with childhood. Over a quarter of adults have not read a book in the last year, and one third of high school graduates will not crack another book open for their entire lives. That's pretty scary. (Source)
I realize that I might be preaching to the choir in this post, but this is such an important topic, that I am going to preach anyway.
Do you want to know what separates the rich from the poor? Depending on who you talk to, there are a variety of answers. But we do know one overwhelming factor that everyone agrees on: reading.
Check out these stats from richhabits.net:
You can help your children develop mentally, emotionally, economically, and in a host of other ways by doing one thing. Ready for the answer?: Read to them out loud.
That's it! Children who are read to consistently, at all ages (don't stop when your kids get out of grade school!), have a direct and proven advantage that leads to increased interest in the world around them, emotional intelligence, and income and upward mobility through the class structure.
That is why I tell everyone I know about Jim Trelease's The Read-Aloud Handbook. My librarian brother-in-law told me about this book when we had our first baby. He raved about it and I thought, "How great can a book about reading be? Sounds pretty boring." But I was wrong. This is a life changing book. And if you invite me to a baby shower, I will give you this book every. single. time.
Buy it. Buy it now. (You could get it from the library, but trust me--you will want your own copy!) Buy a million copies. Give them to everyone you know. Every parent, every teacher, every expectant mother. Anyone who is even thinking of having a baby. Seriously.
Jim explains the science of reading, of how it improves peoples' lives exponentially and how to get kids to do it. He has a ton of time tested tips and tricks (including how to use your tv to get kids to read!), that have been used internationally. But the best one: Just read to them.
-Want your kids to score well on standardized tests? Read to them.
-Want them to have empathy? Read to them.
-Want them to have a good imagination? Read to them.
-Want to have a strong family culture? Read to them.
-Want them to have a great income? Read to them.
The list of benefits goes on and on.
"But," you may ask, "WHAT do I read to them? There are so many dumb children's books. Does it have to be 'Captain Underpants' that is so popular at school?" (I really hate those books.)
I'm so glad you asked! ;) Because there are so many wonderful children's books as well, and the last half of Jim's book is a Treasury of Read-Alouds. They contain titles and summaries of books for children and adults of all ages. These books are all fabulous picks-you can't go wrong. And, you don't need to buy a thing, because your library is sure to have them.
I know I'm gushing, but just get this book and read it already. And then you will have the same problem that I do . . . my kids take waaaay too long using the bathroom and they also don't go to sleep on time because, you guessed it--they are reading!
Community Question: What tips and tricks do you have for getting kids to read?
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