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The Joy and Power of Reading

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Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.

Margaret Fuller

As moms, teachers, and readers ourselves, we know that reading is important.  Whether you are reading at home, at school, at work, daily reading is critical for many reasons.  According to the Phoenix Academy, reading daily for 20 minutes results in learning 1.8 MILLION words a year! We MUST encourage our children to do this each and every day. In an age when playing games and reading on a phone is the norm, our community must find a way to steer away from this addictive habit.  Children need to be encouraged to hold a book, feel the pages, and be empowered to keep reading! 

As we encourage our children to keep reading, we also know that there are MANY struggling readers who are terrified to read or have lost that joy of reading – sadly at an early age.  As a teacher, I have seen this so many times, and I am determined to not let this happen to my boys.  I am determined to encourage fellow mommas out there to prevent this from happening in their homes as well.  There is a book or series of books out there for EVERYONE…I promise you! 

What are some ways to encourage your children to read daily? How can you encourage YOURSELF to grab that book instead of your phone? Take a look at these fun ideas that will surely inspire little readers in your home:

Reading with Rescues:  One program offered to families at a local non-profit, Hickory Hill Farm, is “Reading with Rescues.” Children and adults are invited to join volunteers and rescued horses on the farm for a reading experience they will ALWAYS remember!  I am on the board of this organization, and feel very blessed to help offer this program to the community.

Be a Model:  Let your children see YOU reading for pleasure, too! Find time each day to read together quietly – they will understand the importance of reading if they see you doing it daily.

Book Clubs:  Find a local club or start one of your own.  These can be offered to adults and/or children at a coffee shop, library, or other relaxing environment.  Enjoy a cup of coffee and discuss great stories together!

Story Times:  Around the Nashville area, tons of story times are offered to families.  One of the best resources for this is Parent Magazine – they give you the entire month of story time options.  The best part is that many of these are FREE! http://www.nashvilleparent.com/events/#dailies

Find a Great Book:  At school, children are asked to read a large amount of required text that may not be too exciting. Their reading time at home should be! Visit the bookstore or library together and let them pick out something that 1) they can read independently without a lot of assistance 2) is a topic or genre that they are interested in.  Various kinds of texts include graphic novels, comics, mysteries, how-to books, magazines, etc. Help them find an author or series that they really enjoy!

Visit Bookstores:  One of my favorites is Parnassus Books in Green Hills: http://www.parnassusbooks.net/.  They have the sweetest pup that casually walks around and greets guests. They also have a wonderful selection of texts and an adorable area for kids! This bookstore is owned by author, Ann Patchett, and it is the perfect place to visit with your family on a rainy day!

Stories on Tape:  Is your child more of an auditory learner?  Are you traveling with the kids?  Books on tape are another excellent way to encourage literacy in your home.  They model pronunciation of new vocabulary, tone, rhythm, aspects of dialogue, and more.  Plus, they are really fun to listen to and discuss together! 

I hope you are encouraged to pause for a few minutes each day to enjoy a peaceful time together that requires no phones, no tablets, and no T.V…only a book, your imagination, and the willingness to consider endless possibilities. Books open doors for us – especially for our children!

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