Family Literacy Day: What Are You Going To Do About It?

When asked what the best way to encourage our kids to read, I recall one author’s response was to have lots of good books in the home.

While it’s certainly important to have books visible in the home, my answer would have also included the importance of reading to our kids at an early age. Not only do we need to start reading to them early on, they also need to see us reading.

How can we possible expect our kids to be reading it we aren’t?
Kids learn from example. We all know that!

January 27th is Family Literacy Day here in Canada. Family Literacy Day means that as parents we need to encourage the reading and writing skills of all the members in the family. That doesn’t just mean kids but ALL family members. Yup! That’s me and you!

How early is too early to start reading to our kids?

My daughter has been reading to Miss Charlotte for months now. At eight months she was already able to pick out the bunny on each page of her, “I Am A Bunny” book. When she came to visit in December there was no denying the delight she experienced the moment one of her baby books was opened.

While I’m as proud as the next grandma, I’m inclined to believe that this doesn’t simply show Miss Charlotte’s genius, but rather shows that starting early is the key. So young moms remember, it’s never too early to start. Make it something you do every day. Make reading as natural as eating and breathing. It’s something you’ll never regret.

The theme for 2011 is “Play for Literacy,” –that means board games, card games, word games—you get the picture. Find a fun activity. Make it enjoyable. Read a book, play a board game, but do something. And don’t just do it one day, make it an every day activity. Make it fun!

What are you going to do for Family Literacy Day?

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  1. I read, too, to my daughter almost from the moment we got back from the hospital. Every room in the house had books in it, and I’m an avid reader. As she grew up, sometimes I didn’t know she was in the house — even when I looked in her room. Tiny, she’d be hidden in the comforter on her bed, reading a book. She’s now a lecturer in English at Newcastle University.
    What am I going to do for this specific Literacy Day? Recommend the books “The Velveteen Rabbit” and “The Little Prince” — two of my favourite books. They can be read to a child at a very young age and appreciated for a lifetime.

    • I absolutely love the “Velveteen Rabbit.” I’m assuming “The Little Prince” would also be titled “The Happy Prince?”

      Early reading is SO important. I wish everyone realized the value of instilling a love of reading into their kids. I feel as though it was one of the things I did right with my kids. They all enjoy reading to this day.

  2. I read to all my sons, my husband reads 10 books a month, and we started reading to them early. If I had it to do over again, when they started school, I would have had more one-on-one reading sessions where I read a few pages, then they read a paragraph. That way I would have helped build their confidence and also been there to assist in pronouncing difficult words. It pains me now to know how humiliated they were in school when they were required to read a loud in class. Yes, we all went through that, but I could have made it easier if I hadn’t been so wrapped up in the daily stuff. Ah, for the love of hindsight.

    • Good for you, Joylene! I wish I could read 10 books a month. I could if they were all YA, but as you know I read adult novels from time to time.

      My one daughter had reading buddies at school where you were paired up with an older child to read. They also had home buddies.On work night she’d sit in the kitchen and read to me while I made supper. There’s always some way to slip in extra reading time.

  3. Reading was an important pastime in our family and a bedtime story was a nightly routine. I’ve been pleased to see it continue in our children’s families, along with frequent trips to libraries and book stores. Our older daughter still reads aloud with her almost-teenage son at bedtime even though he reads voraciously himself. (Yes, that’s Shari who became a writer, and I won’t be surprised if that son does, too.) Our younger daughter’s children have two bookcases full of books and still want more. The six-year-old received about twenty new books for Christmas and opened each package with equal delight! She already reads so well that she’s reading bedtime stories to her four-year-old sister who hangs on every word.

    I don’t know that we can *make* children love reading, but I think sharing the reading experience is essential in helping to nurture their interest in books.

    In the past I’ve had articles published in the newspaper for September’s Raise-a-Reader Day, but I hadn’t thought about what I could do for Family Literacy Day. Now you’ve given me something to think about.

    • I’m so glad to hear all these great stories about families reading. :)

      So true, Carol, that while we can’t *make* our kids enjoy reading, we can make books a visible part of their world by trips to the library or bookstore. There’s no library in E. Dalhousie but my kids were frequent books borrowers from the book mobile.

      I know some households that scarcely have any books, and there were people who told me that mine was the very first book they’d ever read. While I was flattered, it also struck me as kind of sad at the same time.

  4. Nice, Laura – I’m doing my part this year – presenting, over three days, to every single student at New Minas Elementary School (14 classes) – fun, but I am getting sick of hearing my own voice:)

  5. Laura, I read to my children before they were born. I would sit with a book propped up on my “great with child’ tummy and read aloud whatever I was reading. It’s good for baby to hear the sound of a reading voice, I believe. I have always had lots of books in the house, and now my grandson enjoys the children’s books when he visits.

    I had not given Family Literacy Day a thought, but perhaps helping to promote your book on my blog counts? :) Check out my posts for January 18 and 26.

    • Many people do read t their unborn children. It’s a good habbit to get into and sets the stage for continued reading to your child once they are born.

      Thanks for all your kindness, Lynn, for reviewing my book and for doing the interview with me. You’re sweet to promote writers and I look forward to your other reviews and interviews. :)

  6. I began reading to my daughter almost immediately after she was born. We started with Lord of the Rings :-) and worked our way through hundreds of picture books and novels. Now at 13, she’s a great reader and writer. She has more than 30,000 words written for her first novel.

    My oldest son struggles with reading. It’s just not his thing. I understand that he’d rather be doing things with his hands, so to him, it feels like a punishment to sit and listen to a story or have to read one. However, when it comes to manuals for bikes or trucks, he eagerly reads. He’s just not a fiction reader; it has to be real for him to enjoy it. I think it’s wrong to believe everyone enjoys fiction. It’s just not so. Many people go through life and never read a novel. It doesn’t mean their lives aren’t as rich as those who devour books.

    That’s not to say he isn’t exposed to fiction. Our home is filled with books. But the only ones he reads with enjoyment are those in “The Diary of a Wimpy Kid” series.

    My youngest son is a mixture of his two older siblings. He loves books, both fiction and nonfiction. And at eight, he’s already written a few short stories.

    What will I do for Family Literacy Day? Nothing out of the usual. We read every day in this house. We don’t need a special occasion.

    • Thanks for commenting, Diane.

      It is important to read to our kids early on and never a waste of time. My son sounds very much like yours. Although he loved for me to read fiction to him when he was young, he was more inclined to look at non-fiction. I ordered dinosaur magazines for him which he really liked, but he was more into sports and playing outside then settling into a book. When he reached the later years of highschool he discovered novels and began reading. I could hardly keep him in books! Your son may discover he enjoys reading more when he gets older, you never know!

      There’s no way to make kids read. As you say, for some, reading just isn’t their think. But by exposing our kids to books and reading to them we are doing something postive. We are planting those seeds and that is something we can all do.

  7. Like Diane, every day is literacy day in our house. Years ago when my mother-in-law wondered why we didn’t have a child, I answered that there wasn’t room for the book. My husband’s family read constantly, and when I lived with them while I went to teacher’s college, I discovered that they read during meals, too. Books were part of the table setting. My son wasn’t born with a book in his hand, but he might as well have been. He’s an avid reader and, now, a writer, too. For literacy day, I’m just going to be thankful that he has such a wonderful gift that will last him a lifetime and be thankful for teachers and parents and caregivers who work to bring that gift to their children, too.

    • I’m hopeful,Heather,that many families have the same attitude as the rest of my readers. As an author and a mum it’s comforting to know that many families do make reading a priority and something that is not just a necessity but also enjoyable.

  8. I enjoyed reading your interview on Lynn’s site, Laura. Congratulations on Bitter, Sweet! I’m definitely going to buy a copy.

    • Thanks so much, Sue, and welcome to my blog. It was great fun doing the interview. Lynn. is so sweet and supportive. :)

  9. Thanks for linking to my blog, Duke!

  1. Family Literacy Day: What Are You Going To Do About It? (via Laura Best, author) « Duke1959's Blog

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