Raising a Reader, Not a Tweeter

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I doubt there is a responsible parent out there who hasn’t worried about the kind of world they have brought their children into. Trends come and go, each stranger than the next. Technology is evolving. Morality is dying. I’m painting a real cheery picture here. I just worry that the simple things will be (or already are) lost. Mainly, that my child won’t read.

As a child, I craved books. There was no internet to escape to, no Facebook/Twitter/Instagram to scroll through. I made books my haven. I remember begging my parents for just five more minutes before “lights out” to finish a chapter. Do kids still do that these days? Are books a cause for wonder and excitement anymore? I’m feeling a big NO coming. I blame Spongebob.

I was surprised to read about the positive developmental effects of reading to your children as young as 14 months.  I don’t think I need to go into an extensive study on the positive effects of reading in children (but if you’d like to, here you go). But beyond test scores and cognitive development, I’m concerned with character building. Who will my children idolize? What qualities, skills, ideas, will they aspire to? In short, if my daughter comes to me one day asking to be on Disney Channel, I have failed as a parent.

I think my fellow bookworms out there will agree:

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I want my children to have a well-stocked bookshelf in their room, not a stack of gossip magazines. I want them to know who Carolyn Keene is, not a freaking Kardashian. Even if they are not “bookish”, I  want them to value literature, to learn from classic characters, to form opinions from what they’ve read and researched themselves. Is this too idealistic? Is this unreasonable? I don’t think so and I hope other parents raising children today feel the same.

So what were your favorite childhood books? Which ones did you or do you want to pass on to your children? How did you instill a love of books in your children? Let me know in the comments!

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6 thoughts on “Raising a Reader, Not a Tweeter

  1. I totally get your anxiety here — I used to be a bookworm myself. I think raising our children to love books begins with modeling our love for books. I’m guilty of sitting around reading off of my phone, but I realize that picking up a physical book and reading it will catch my toddler’s interest. Another thing I do is bring my girl to baby/toddler storytime at the local library. There are TONS of cool children’s books, toys, and other babies that go, and it’s a great opportunity to instill the love of literature and increase literacy rates, not to mention interact with other babies.

  2. I have two boys and we have a ridiculous amount of books and they love them! I purchased some of my childhood favorites for them like, The Story of Ferdinand, Madeline, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Giving Tree, The Polar Express. These are just a few of many. If you love to read it will rub off on your children, I promise, my mom and dad were and still are avid readers.

  3. I agree completely with your feelings. I’m a reader and I think that my kids “caught” it from me. They always loved books and had all kinds of books from an early age. Start with books they are colorful and short and follow her lead. I found it helpful as my kids grew older to flesh out their movie experiences by getting the books to go with them and reading them with the kids. All Disney movies have books that go along. When they were enamored by Thomas, we read those short stories. Same with Wizard of Oz and Narnia as they got older. The books are so much fuller of images and side stories than movies that they can go deeper into their interests. We always had books available and although I paid a lot of late fines, the library was our favorite hangout. One of our favorite summer activities was to walk to the library then stop at the middle school and sit under the big shady trees to read the books on the way home. Sometimes we even made a detour and went back to the library to return what we had read and get new ones!

    • I love that! Is it strange that I’m looking forward to being on the library wanted list? What’s nice now too are the library ebooks- no late fees, just have to make sure you finish your books. Thanks Ellen!

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