The Smart Bitches have an interesting blog post on how to foster a love of reading and literary analysis. Interesting reading, mostly to do with required reading in high school. A lot of really smart people having a great conversation over there.
Probably not the place for my inane ramblings.
But I get asked a lot (in person) how I get my boys to read so much. They read at home, at school, in the car, at restaurants, in waiting rooms. I’ve been asked by the moms of my kids’ classmates. I’ve been asked by several teachers. Total strangers. My standard answer: they were born that way.
In reality, I think the aptitude for reading and the way people read is probably genetic, but a love of reading? A lot of that’s environmental. I had a woman tell me one day she can’t get her kids to read. I’ve been in her house and the sum total of visible reading material was a TV Guide on the coffee table. They’re supposed to love reading how?
In our house, books are everywhere. A lot of mine are mass market paperbacks and my husband has a lot of oversized hardcover history and railroad books. Magazines abound. The Tall Kid got a stack of books for Christmas the year he was minus-8-months-old. Between his own books and the ones passed down from his big brother, I think the Short Kid has more books than the children’s section at our library.
Mom always read. Dad often read. Reading’s like breathing around here. Every night, the boys would sit on the arms of Dad’s chair while he read them a story. Then I’d take them upstairs and read them another story before tucking them in. I have pictures of both boys, at about the 3-year-old mark, sitting with their books. Though five years apart, they both did the same thing at that age. They’d sit in a corner of the room with their books fanned out around them, going from book to book. Hell, when TK was a tot, he’d pull my paperbacks down and use them for building blocks and make forts or elevated track platforms for his Thomas trains.
Both could read before they started school, but I didn’t teach them to read. Nobody did. As I mentioned in my previous post, I have no teaching gene. We never did lessons of any kind.
They learned to read the same way they learned to walk and to talk and to eat with a fork. Reading is that fundamental around here.