Friday, July 27, 2007

Love of Reading is Hereditary

Despite the fact that in yesterday’s post I gave a compilation of statistics about the latest Harry Potter book, I'm rather tired of hearing about Potter. Of course, it could be grumpiness on my part because I bought two copies and only yesterday got to see the cover of one of them. My son picked them up from the store shortly after midnight on the day Potter was released and dropped off one copy on his way home from work just yesterday. That one, after I read it, will go to my daughter out in San Francisco and the other will probably stay with my son after he and probably most of his friends read it.

You keep hearing about the phenomenal numbers of sales that took place over the weekend for the book. You also hear lamenting that kids who read the Harry Potter series are not necessarily reading other books. The chant is that Harry Potter is not the savior of children's books nor of children's minds.

Well, frankly, it shouldn't be. What should be the driving force getting kids to read is ... parents. Notice I didn't say teachers. Sure, teachers teach our kids to read and they require reading in class. But I firmly believe it is up to parents to develop in kids a lifelong love of books and reading.

Video games are the rage nowadays. They were when my kids were young. Parents buy those games. Parents also buy books or take their kids to libraries. Parents set examples for kids by reading themselves and reading to the kids. My son played a lot of video games. He also is an avid reader and there were always books in our house. He'll read about anything, but especially loves science and history. Just the other day he told me he's taught himself to speed read.

Even parents who are not big readers can encourage their kids to read. Read to them when they're very young. Get them a library card. Take them to in-store readings. Help them find the kinds of books they like to read. Set them up with their own reading place, whether it's a bean bag in their room or a spot in the living room. Sit with them and read your own favorite book or magazine.

Encouraging children to read will pay off in life-long benefits, for you and for your kids.

And now I have to go read. I’m only on Chapter 12 and already the spoilers are coming out.

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