by BERN MORLEY
There is a kind of sliding scale that shows the amount of time you spend with your child is relevant to the amount of siblings that they end up with. I have three children so it’s fair to say that I probably had more time, more interest maybe, when my first daughter was born.
I was rigid with routine, especially at night time and this worked because let’s face it, she was the only person my husband I had to care for, to nurture. There was no one else to take our attention away.
So perhaps that is why today she is such an avid reader. Maybe. Maybe she, like I, was just always going to be that way inclined, but I’d like to think we played some part in this.
I do know that our nightly routine consisted of bath, teeth, book and bed. And then, if she wanted, we’d let her read for a few more minutes (once she could). Thirteen years later (and I write this at 10:30 at night) I can guarantee she’ll be up in her room reading something under the covers. The subject matter may have changed, but her passion for the written word has not.
So how does this happen? And what happens when it doesn’t happen as naturally with the next child? Well I can also give you some firsthand experience with this. After Maddison, I had two sons and neither one of them would choose a book over a DVD or a game of cricket in the yard. And even though we didn’t change our night-time routine with either of them, they appeared disinterested in reading a book in the cold light of day.
I read “A Very Hungry Caterpillar” to them until I couldn’t work out if I was encouraging them to read or just binge eat. I mean, I’d read Green Eggs and Ham to them so much I was unable to eat a Ham Sandwich without feeling physically ill. Yet all of this reading and re-reading was to no avail. And then I worked it out, I was going about it in all the wrong ways..
See these boys needed me to read them something that interested them. Something that got them excited because let’s face it, Dig the Dog digging holes in the back yard can only be read so many times before even a 5 year old can tell that Dig needs a new hobby.
Quite simply, it comes down to this, if you want your child to be interested in reading, find out what interests THEM. Is it Thomas the Tank? Sharks? Barbie? Hovercrafts? The Little Mermaid?
Star Wars? Ponies? Bronwyn Bishop? Whatever it is, focus the reading around their interests. Not only will they be learning effortlessly, they’ll be absorbing facts about something that they love and inadvertently, learning to READ.