One of the worst fears of any book-loving parent—or any book-lover at all—is to hear a child say “I don’t like reading,” or “Reading? Nah, that’s boring.”
I am a reader. To me, saying you “don’t like reading” is like saying you don’t like air or food. I can’t imagine that it’s actually true. I know plenty of kids who refuse to eat anything but French fries and macaroni and cheese, but this doesn’t mean they “don’t like food”. It means that their tastes are very particular right now. Reading is the same way. Many of us go through periods when our taste in books is particular. Maybe you only like comic books, or Science Fiction. Maybe you don’t like fiction at all and only want to read news articles or biographies. Does this mean you don’t like reading in general? Of course not. Does it mean your reading preferences will never change? Well… have you ever met grownup who only eats French fries and macaroni and cheese? I bet not.
Just as our tastes in food change and expand as we grow, so will our tastes in books. What was too spicy for us as a 5 year old might be our favorite food as an adult! And with books, genres that are boring in elementary school may be exciting and challenging to read as adults. But unlike with food, it can be all too easy to give up on books after the first try. Food is necessary for our survival, books (arguably) are not.
This is why we at Reading Rainbow love Read Across America Day, a day devoted to motivating children and teens to read through events, book readings, school assemblies, and more. Reading may be a solitary activity, but it’s a social pursuit. Everything is more fun when it’s shared, and reading is no exception!
Here are a few ways you can share a love of books with the kids in your life this Read Across America Day:
1. Read aloud to a child in your life. Read at a school, a library, or even just to your kids at home. After all, “you’re never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read to a child!”
2. Talk about books. We think of reading as something we do alone, but books have been bringing people together for centuries. A book can be an ice-breaker between strangers in a coffee shop. A book is a reason to get together with your friends for discussion. And most of all, a beloved book can be a way for parents or grandparents and children to bond and make the generation gap seem a little bit smaller.
3. Share a book. What was your favorite book as a kid? Was there one in particular that made you fall in love with reading? SHARE that book with the kids around you! This might mean adding it to your home library, giving it as a gift to nieces or nephews, donating a dozen of them to your local school… Or it might be as simple as talking about your experience reading it with the children closest to you.
You see, sharing a love of reading is a chain reaction. Young Readers are like dominoes stretching from one end of the country to the other, just waiting for one person to share the right book or story; one person to give them that little push that will help them fall into a love of reading. On this Read Across America Day, share a book, read to a child, start the chain reaction that can reach into schools, homes, and neighborhoods all around the country, and continue every day of the year!
As the Reading Rainbow Mom, Jenni Buchanan enjoys encouraging readers of ALL ages to believe that they can “go anywhere, be anything.” See more of Jenni’s blogs and tips for parents about children’s reading by subscribing to the Reading Rainbow Blog, or follow her on Twitter.