Growing up I was a big fan of Sweet Valley High reading collection. These books were hand-me-downs from my cousin. Oh! How she loved reading! Of course as the younger cousin, I wanted to do what she was doing, I wanted to read what she was reading. Although, she had to read the book first before sharing with me, it was almost torture because I treasured reading. It took a couple before she could finish them, and I waited eagerly and – in some aspect, I learned to be patient. However, when it was my turn I read till my heart’s content into the wee hours of the night, sitting near the oil lamps, because we had no electricity at the time…
Growing up on the reservation had its perks, however having access to a library was not one of them, and getting our hands on a book was intermittent. I grew up with limited resources, and I didn’t want that for my children. I wanted to make sure that my children grew up in a literature-rich environment. I believe that children who are exposed to books from a very young age grow up loving books. Some suggestions to creating a healthy reading environment at home:
- Creating a reading environment starts by having a good supply of reading materials such as magazines, comic books, chapter books, newspapers, and catalogs. Often, I swing by the library and help myself to the free books; I also go to yard sells to buy books. It is essential that reading becomes a natural part of everyday life. Creating a place in the home for a family library is a great way to encourage reading. Providing adequate lighting and comfortable furniture, this space could also be used for homework time. I found that choosing a variety of books is also a fun creative way to encourage reading at home.
- Children mimic their parents; their lifelong habits are usually formed from watching others. Therefore why not have them see their parents reading? Taking time to read together as a family is important. For the parent it may seem as though the book is being read for the umpteenth time – to the child that moment is important. The time together forms a bond and shared experience. I, personally, view reading children’s book as a great way to escape from the daily commands of reading text books and academic related material. It reminds me that there is still joy in reading.
- Other techniques I suggest in making a healthy reading environment home include creating personal libraries for each individual. As parents we want to understand our children’s interests and validate them. Create a place on the bookshelf that belongs to them. Lastly, limit other mediums, such as televisions, computers, video games, and cellphones! There is something about holding a book in your hand, flipping through pages, and smelling paper. For, one of these days, books may become obsolete. Till then happy reading!