Thursday, May 21, 2015

Love of Literacy

Passing down a love of reading to his sister, Feb '06.
I don't remember having a book-filled house as a child, but I was always encouraged to read. Now, as an adult, pretty much every room in my home has an overstuffed bookshelf (not the bathrooms, just to be clear) with all sorts of titles, softcover and hardcover, giant coffee table books and tiny books of poetry and verse. These books are all within reach of my kids, so they've been raised to know that books are important, part of our lives and readily available to them.

Even though we didn't have a lot of books around, I always seemed to be reading. I would literally read anything I could get my hands on, and my library card was much-loved and broken in at an early age. I read and re-read a pile of comic books and paperbacks—and then read them again. I spent my time hanging out with Nancy Drew and Trixie Beldon and Encyclopedia Brown. I might have been a city kid, but through my books, I rode horses on the beach, had a talking pet mouse and stood up to bullies on a daily basis.

Now, my own kids are in that tween and early teen age group, where I've been told that reading becomes the last thing a kid wants to do. After years spent reading to my kids and sharing books with them and encouraging them to read on their own and visiting bookstores and libraries with them and helping them to find titles that engage and challenge them, they still love to read.

What a relief.

I didn't devote an overabundance of time to reading, it was just a little bit of time spent every day—well, that and probably the fact that they may have inherited their love of reading from me. We made regular trips to the bookstores and libraries; I let them see me reading (which means I escaped into a book as often as humanly possible). I encouraged them to read everything they could get their hands on—classics and comic books, titles that challenged them and others that were pure fluffy entertainment.

Summer break is coming, and my kids know that this means summer reading programs. Here are a few in the Oklahoma City area—these programs are such a great way to encourage a love of reading in kids, and some even offer prize incentives and events.

  • Pioneer Library System summer reading program kicks off with events at the system libraries on various days. This year's theme is "Every Hero Has a Story" and the season will feature themed events for kids of all ages.
  • The Metro Library System summer reading program is for individuals or groups and features events and incentives through the program dates at all Metro Library locations.
  • Download a summer reading journal from Barnes & Noble to join their summer reading program, geared toward kids in grades 1-6. Kids read 8 books, record them in the reading log and turn in the completed journal to your local B&N to received a free book from the list of books available.
  • Half Price Books has a summer reading program for younger kids (read or be read to for 15 minutes per day) and teenagers (read a book a month and write a review) which earns "bookworm bucks" that may be spent in store. 
Most of these sites also have great lists of tips for getting your kids excited about reading.