A love of reading doesn’t just happen. An adult who loves to read was, most likely, a child who loved to read. Even as a librarian, it’s been a challenge to raise children who love to read.
My children don’t see me as a librarian. They see me as “Mom,” and when I ask them to do things, they naturally push back. Even the librarian’s kids would rather watch Netflix than read a book!
Bedtime was different. They loved for me to read them book after book. As is typical for most children, they had their favorite books and requested them, over and over and over.
One night when the littlest was 3 and her sister was 5, I was feeling adventurous and decided to change up our bedtime book routine and switch to chapter books.
Honestly, I did it more for me than them. After thousands of readings, I could recite The Princess and the Frog by heart. I needed to do something to inject our bedtime reading ritual with excitement.
That first night I grabbed a copy of JUNIE B. JONES AND THE STUPID SMELLY BUS / by Barbara Park ; illustrated by Denise Brunkus. I channeled my brattiest voice and read about a kindergartener who doesn’t enjoy her first school bus ride and hides in the classroom instead of getting back on the bus at the end of the day.
The kids love Junie B. Jones. They enjoy her “voice” and they can relate to her exploration of the world. Even though they’re chapter books, they’re short enough to read in one (extended) session.
After a few Junie B. Jones books, I reached for my read-aloud copy of RAMONA QUIMBY, AGE 8 / Beverly Cleary ; illustrated by Alan Tiegreen. Each night before bed we read one chapter of Ramona. Before I started reading, I asked them to quickly summarize what Ramona was up to in the previous chapter. Then I would read the next chapter. We would also discuss predictions for where the story was going. They especially enjoyed keeping track of how many more nights until we finished the book.
Reading the larger chapter books taught my children to retain the narrative of a story across several reading sessions. They are also learning to use their mind’s eye to craft the world that I’m narrating.
After several Ramona books, we moved on to THE MOUSE AND THE MOTORCYCLE / Beverly Cleary ; illustrated by Louis Darling. The kids thought Ralph, the mouse, was very fun. They loved that he could talk to the little boy and they loved hearing about the adventures Ralph got into when he rode the toy motorcycle around the hotel.
They got a little scared when Ralph was in trouble, but the suspense was brief and their fear quickly turned into excitement the more I read.
What are we reading now that they’re 8 and 5 1/2? We’re currently reading book three of The Land of Stories series by Chris Colfer. We started with book one, THE WISHING SPELL / by Chris Colfer ; illustrated by Brandon Dorman, this winter and we’re quickly making our way through the series.
To say my kids love this series would be an understatement. They love referencing the maps in the front of each book as we’re reading. They ask me as we’re getting ready for bed, “We’re going to read another chapter, right?”. They’ve even taken the books to sleepovers at grandma’s house because they didn’t want to miss that night’s chapter.
What can you do to raise a reader?
Read Read Read
Your child won’t read if you don’t read to them. Find books you will enjoy reading and read those. If you’re excited about reading, they will be too.
Model the behavior as well. They won’t want to read if they don’t see you reading. Give yourself permission to leave the dishes in the sink and curl up with a good book every once in a while.
CMPLD Reading Resources for Children
1000 Books Before Kindergarten
Babies need words. They need to hear the language to learn the language. CMPLD has program called 1000 Books Before Kindergarten. If you read three books a day to your child, in just one year you’ll have read 1,095 books. Progress at your own pace and earn a rubber duckie for every 100 books read! Visit us at Cook Park Library, Aspen Drive Library, or on the Bookmobile to sign up.
Ask a Bookie
If you or your child is looking for recommendations for a good read, try one of my favorite services: Ask the Bookies. Simply fill out a form and our knowledgeable staff will send you a personalized reading list. There are different forms for Parents/Caregivers, Kids and Teens.
Seasonal Reading Clubs
Every season we host Reading Clubs. We are currently running the Spring Reading Club. Participating in Spring Reading is fun and easy. You can register online or stop by the reference desk and get a sheet to keep track of your reading. Earn 10 points for every book you read, or 20 points for every hour you read. Once a child earns 100 points, they earn an awesome prize!
Join a Book Club
At CMPLD, we offer many book clubs.
For grades 4-5 we have Page Turners Book Club. Join other fun kids to talk about fabulous books at Aspen Drive Library every 2nd Monday, 4-5pm.
In the Middle Book Club is a book club just for middle schoolers. Join us for a fun and lively book discussion with awesome books every Second Wednesday, 6:30-7:30pm.
If you have little ones, consider joining either Baby Story Time or Family Story Time.
And lastly, don’t forget about modeling the behavior and consider joining one of the Library’s adult book clubs. There are many clubs to choose from. Find more information on our website.