Educator Insights: Nurturing a Love of Reading in Children

ParentSquare Original Entry: 

My father breezes through The Wall Street Journal and New York Times daily.  He reads The New Yorker and The Economist weekly, plows through books, recites poetry as easily as he quotes passages from Epictetus; at 89, he’s a reading Olympian!  I asked him how he guided his three children to love reading.  Here’s his advice:

Make it sweet:  Dad walked us to the local library every Saturday.  We checked out as many books as we could carry.  On the way home, he’d take us to the town bakery, buy us a pastry, and require us to read aloud from a book we’d chosen.  He helped us learn new words in all their forms and meanings.

Make learning fun, not scary:  When Dad noticed us trying out new words, he’d flip a quarter in the air.  If we caught it, we could keep it!  He also praised our attempts to tackle advanced vocabulary.  He was steadfast in his excitement about language and patient with our mistakes.  He understood kids need years of constant practice to comprehend the irregularities and richness of the English language.

Make it special:  Monthly he took us to the public library on 5th Avenue in New York.  We read in that magnificent space, surrounded by people of all ethnicities and interests.  He bought us soft pretzels afterwards.  We walked through Central Park, talking about books, ideas, and life.  My dad made reading relevant and joyful—one of life’s best gifts!

By Theresa Gorey
Lower School Learning Specialist
Crane Country Day School