I fondly remember the nights Mom would sit on the hardwood floor against the side of my bed reading stories. I could lean over her shoulder to see the illustrations and text. She enjoyed reading and it showed.
Her love has inspired a tradition, helping me get my child hooked on reading. The bond created from this timeless tradition is the building block, sharing and passing on a passion for books. The more time you spend reading to your little one, the greater the love for reading becomes.
I started reading to Alex before he could sit still long enough to listen. We stocked his shelves full with all kinds of books to develop visual and auditory skills. Nursery rhymes or anything rhythmic were instant hits. After awhile, I didn’t need the books. I could recite them in the car, on the playground, or at the mall. He would eventually recite rhymes on his own.
Taking notice of his developing interests helped our family with choosing the right reading materials for him. It wasn’t hard to get Alex to read, once he developed an interest for Thomas the Tank Engine. Having spent some time in preschool and learning the basics, he loved to show us what he had learned.
I continued reading to Alex nightly, about eight to 10 books a day. I would have him identify words or have him explain to me what was happening in a story. Over time, he would take over some of the reading duties. But I never pushed, just let him go at his own pace.
Anything book related we encouraged – trips to the bookstore, the library, ordering books through school. He would get books for his birthday, Easter and Christmas. There was even a summer reading club through the library with many rewards, the biggest being a free pass to the local railroad museum.
I’m very proud to say my six-year-old now reads at a third grade level, with less than a month of kindergarten left. The school and his teacher recognized his abilities early and got Alex in an advanced reading program. Seeing his progress reports and talking with his teachers help us further his reading and comprehension skills.
Some nights are very nostalgic for me now. I can ask my son to read me a story in bed while I think about my Mom and how proud she would be knowing our tradition lives on.