Beyond Words: Cultivating Lifelong Readers
Hello, dear readers! This is Heather Martinson from Celebration Education, and I wanted to share a bit about an enlightening realization I've come across during my adventures in education.
Recently, I found myself inadvertently outside my learning center without my keys! While this minor hiccup didn’t change my passion for the day’s lesson, it got me thinking about the differences in education and learning. We all know the importance of reading, but there's a difference between merely knowing how to read and genuinely being a reader.
I once stayed at a house where two teen girls lived. Education was paramount in this household. They attended traditional schools, and the emphasis was always on good grades and college preparation. However, I quickly noticed a glaring absence: books. There was one tucked away bookshelf in the house, hidden in a basement closet. Despite their educational accolades, these girls weren't readers.
This made me think about our homeschooling community. We often don't label our children as readers just because they know how to read. We wait until they actively pick up books and immerse themselves in the stories, driven by curiosity and passion. Some kids start reading early, while others begin later, and that’s perfectly okay. The key is cultivating a love for reading. After all, being a reader is about more than just reading words off a page; it's about diving into new worlds and experiences.
To become a genuine reader, one must have exposure and a conducive environment for reading:
Lead by example: If you want your child to be a reader, you should be one too. Dive into books, discuss them, and let your child see your excitement about literature.
Library visits: Regularly take your child to the library. While some might be initially drawn to computers or games, the allure of books will soon captivate them.
Have plenty of books at home: From sales or online stores, build a collection. Have bookcases in every room if you can!
Read to your child: No matter their age, reading out loud can be a bonding experience. It exposes them to stories beyond their current reading level and nurtures a love for stories.
Let them read independently: Like learning to speak, reading is intuitive if given the right exposure. Children will learn to read in their own time.
I remember one of my sons, despite being dyslexic, engrossed in Steinbeck. My children began reading anywhere from the age of four to ten, proving there's no 'one-size-fits-all’, as discussed in another post in our blog. Another friend's daughter only started reading at 14, but within a year, she'd consumed more books than many do throughout their entire school years.
Parents, remember this: it's okay if your child starts late. With the right environment and encouragement, they will not just know how to read; they'll become lifelong readers.