My little girl is curled up on the couch with a Mandie book, her blue eyes intent and her mental wheels almost visibly turning. She's in her own little world...and I love it. I remember another little girl of not-so-long ago flopped across the bed with a Mandie book, not only reading but living the story....
I'm not quite sure how I came to love reading as much as I do. It seems that I've always enjoyed it. I do know that burying myself in a good book was a great way to escape tough circumstances and lonely days. I could lose myself in the lives of the characters in the story and I didn't have to deal with my own troubles for awhile. But, more than that, I found that books became, as others have said, my true friends, and I wanted to pass that love down to my children.
I'm thrilled that my two oldest daughters have indeed developed a true love of reading. They're happy to curl up with a book for hours, and that's usually fine with me! I hope that my two youngest will follow in their footsteps. My son, who is three, already seems to love books and, even as a baby, he would sit contentedly and flip through a book for quite a long time (considering that he almost never wanted to sit still otherwise.)
My children have always been home schooled. When I started the monumental task of teaching my oldest daughter to read I felt overwhelmed; and it only got worse as we struggled through her lessons. I was nearly convinced that she would never learn to read, that I was a failure as a teacher and a mother, and that we would both be bald when it was all over. I couldn't understand why it took so long for her to grasp something as simple as the sound of a letter or blend or...whatever! We shed many tears. But with prayer we made it through. I consider it one of the highest privileges of my life as a mommy so far, to know that, with God's help, I taught my daughters to read.
Of course, teaching them to read doesn't necessarily guarantee that they'll love to read. And, I really can't think of many things in particular that I did to encourage a love for reading, other than by demonstrating my own love for it. Of course, my husband and I read them bedtime stories, and books were nearly always something that the younger children could take to church to help them sit quietly during the service. (When they were past toddler-hood this stopped.) I'm convinced that this is not something that can be forced, but, just like nearly everything, must be taught by example. Encourage your children as they learn to read. Be patient with them (at least try!) and don't worry if they aren't reading precisely when everyone says they should. Relax! After they have learned, encourage them to read often. Read with them. Snuggle on the couch while you each read your favorite book. I love this quote: "Children are made readers on the laps of their parents." ~Emilie Buchwald
Jessica Geise is a follower of Jesus Christ, the wife of an amazing husband, and the mother of four children who are the loves of her life. She is passionate about homeschooling, enjoys spending time with her family more than anything else, would rather buy a new book than new clothes, is always starting on a diet, and thinks that chocolate is the next-best medicine to laughter. Other than reading, her favorite hobbies are music, decorating, blogging, and making attempts at photography. She blogs about this, that, and the other at www.itsthelittlethings4.