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A love of reading

One of my most cherished evening routines is reading in bed with my sons – especially after a long day. I crave the cuddling, share the excitement of a treasured tale, and I almost ALWAYS give in to “Can we read one more book, pleeeeease?”

I was never an avid reader as a child nor did I have a passion for books. I grew up watching way too much TV and reading wasn’t something my parents fostered much. So when we were preparing to be parents, I spent a lot of time – and money – filling shelves with worlds of wonders. Classics, favourites, popular authors, feel-good stories, and every type of diverse-family books I could get my hands on.

From birth, we read to our kids every night. At first, they learned how to turn pages and point to animals and characters. They quickly had beloved books that were re-read (what felt like) hundreds of times. And then that magical moment came when they could recite these books from cover to cover.

Studies have shown that the best predictor for reading success in school is how much your kids read at home with you. Cultivating a love for reading is time well spent with your kids and the bonding that happens around books is enchanting.As a teacher, I often tell parents to read together and talk about what they’re reading. Ask kids to make predictions, infer on how the characters might be feeling and why, make connections to other stories or people in their lives, change the ending, add an extra chapter, or discuss the lessons and deeper meaning behind the words. Interacting with stories enhances the experience and helps kids develop a richer understanding of what they read. Help foster that love for literature at home, at the library, the bookstore, or even the App store on your tablet.

Right now at home we’re reading the Magic Tree House. It’s one of the first chapter book series that we’re reading together and it’s become a big hit – even for the adults! My five-year-old snuggles in and scans the pages for words he recognizes so we can read sections together. I get a kick from how he puts his hands against his mouth in anticipation during a suspenseful moment… or how he can’t help to let out a big sigh of relief when the characters make it through a tough spot.

And when those cliffhanger chapters end, and we really should be going to bed, I have a really hard time saying no to those puppy-dog eyes, craving for just one more chapter.

As appeared in the Frankly Fatherhood column of the March 2019 issue of Mom & Caregiver Magazine

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