Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Tuesday Tip #12: Raising Book-lovers

The "plan" for today's Tuesday Tip was to write something clever and inspiring for all you aspiring rhyme writers out there. It would only be fair for me to share a little bit of my knowledge of rhyme, meter and poetic expression in general.

Unfortunately, a post like that just takes too much advance planning, so it will have to wait.

But all is not lost, because my son inspired my next Tuesday Tip last night when I was tucking him into bed. He pulled The Monster at the End of this Book off the shelf, to read before bed. That book has been read and read and read more than any other book in our house. Even more than Bear Snores On!

When my girls were tiny, I would read that book with as much expression and enthusiasm as I could muster. With my girls, they just loved books, but that one was their favorite.

When my little guy was tiny, the love of books didn't come as naturally. He wouldn't sit through more than a couple pages of any book I tried to read to him. But I was determined. So, one day when he was 2, I sat him on my lap and forced him (yeah, I'm a mean mommy) to listen as I read The Monster at the End of this Book. It was like witnessing a miracle right there on my lap. "Read it again!" he said. So I did. And then I read it again. I must have read it four or five times in a row before finally telling him my voice had had enough.

My point is that if you want to get your kids to love books (or at least learn to love a good story), you need to do these few simple things:

1. Start as young as possible

2. Read with gusto! No monotonous reading allowed. Use expression when you read to your kids (I know you can sound like an ogre if you try). They'll enjoy the experience so much more and they'll want to relive it!

3. Pick age-appropriate books that are action-packed, with lots of repetition and fun language (and short, as a general rule). I say age-appropriate, but that doesn't mean a toddler or preschooler won't enjoy listening as you read a middle-grade novel to your older kids. But especially for the little guys and gals, here are a few of the books that my kids got into when they were little:

Hop! Plop! (not just because it's Corey's book, my son really loved it)
The Foot Book, by Dr. Seuss
The Monster at the End of this Book
David Goes to School, by David Shannon
Bear Snores On, by Karma Wilson
Tiki Tiki Tembo
Click, Clack, Moo, by Doreen Cronin
Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak
The True Story of the Three Little Pigs


  1. Anonymous11:26 AM

    A precious 'ah-ha' moment right before your eyes, beautiful!

    Looking foward to the rhyming tip.

  2. I love it ... 'read with gusto'!!! SO true!!!

  3. Thanks, gals!

    My son and I just finished reading Kenny and the Dragon. He loved it! It was a good read.

  4. You're so right, Rebecca! Great tips!

    I'll add "Sheep in a Jeep" by Nancy Shaw as a great read for little boys. My son LOVED the "jeep in a heap" scene. If you are a "mean" mom then I am too!

    And check out http://www.shareastory-shapeafuture.blogspot.com/for a whole week of celebrations about raising a reader, starting March 9th!

  5. I'll second Sheep in a Jeep. Other favorites when my kids were little include: Dear Zoo, Go Dog Go, Hand Hands Fingers Thumb, and Little White duck (or any story that can be sung!)

  6. I've never read Sheep in a Jeep before. But my kids did like Dear Zoo (and any other lift-the-flap book).


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