I love to read
Feb. 18, 2013
by Jenni Sebora

February is “I Love to Read Month.” It would be absolutely fantastic if every child and every adult loved to read. However, this may not be the case.

If a child struggles with reading, it makes it difficult to enjoy reading. We, as adults, parents, and teachers, can do many things to help our children embrace reading.

Early intervention is extremely important if a child is struggling with reading. In fact, children who are behind by third grade have a difficult time catching up.

Early on, and, in fact, even when a baby is in a mother’s womb, reading to him or her is the first step in the reading process.

Reading to your children exposes them to proper grammar, phrasing, and vocabulary, and allows them to be exposed to advanced reading material they could not read on their own.

My third-grade child loves to read, but she also still enjoys being read to. Often, we will pick out a chapter book and take turns reading to each other. This is also wonderful, because it helps with oral comprehension, as well as listening comprehension, which are both vital, but different, skills.

Providing our children with a wide variety of print material is crucial. Reading a novel is not my middle daughter’s choice of hobby. However, if she finds a good novel that fits her interests, she will delve in and engage. She read the book, “Outsiders,” in her English class, and this book captivated her. She always read more than she had to for each reading assignment.

I also had found a VHS copy of the “Outsiders” at a garage sale years ago. This turned into a movie night for my daughter and her friends on a couple of occasions.

“James and the Giant Peach” is another great VHS treasure I found, along with the book. Reading a book, followed by watching the video can increase interest in literature.

Other movie/book duos that are among my favorites include, of course, “Little House on the Prairie” series (I have the complete book and DVD set), “Because of Winn-Dixie,” “Charlotte’s Web,” “Ramona and Beezus,” “Holes,” “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” series, “Harry Potter” series, “The Hobbit,” and “Hunger Games.”

Magazines are another choice of reading material for my middle daughter. The pictures and illustrations help spark her interest.

Actually, picture books are the first step in literacy. Illustrations help bring the story to life, and may especially help with a reluctant reader.

If your child – young or older – has found a book or series that they enjoy, how about researching the author? This can really bring the book to life, and can also bring out the authoring skills in your son or daughter.

Last year, we took my son and a friend to a “meet the author” night in Minneapolis. Author Maggie Stiefvater was one of four authors at this event. She wrote the “Shiver” trilogy and “The Raven Boys” series. She has also received an honorary Printz award for her book, “The Scorpio Races.” This is awarded to outstanding literature in young adult fiction.

Stiefvater signed my son’s copy of “Shiver,” which adds great personal value to the book. Since this event, he has read all of her books, and I am on my way, too. I usually delve into a book after he has read it. (There just isn’t enough time for reading.)

Researching authors online is another great source of information. Veronica Roth (author of “Divergent” trilogy), and Kaleb Nation (“Bran Hambric” series) have been among my family’s favorite young adult website author reviews.

With a little encouragement and a visit to your local library, any child can be a book lover.

Scholastic printed its list of the 100 greatest books for children recently. These are just a few for ages 4 through 7: “The Giving Tree,” “Madeline,” “The Dot,” “The Little Mouse, “The Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear” (for ages 8 through 10), “The Wind in the Willows,” “When Marian Sang: The True Recital of Marian Anderson,” “The Phantom Tollbooth,” “The Secret Garden” (for ages 11 and up), “A Wrinkle in Time,” “Anne of Green Gables,” “Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret,” and “The Invention of Hugo Cabret.”

Enjoy reading. I know I will. There are a few recommendations by Scholastica I have not read yet. I can’t wait.

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