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I am a reader. Books are treasures in my family, and my children all have their own library cards by the time they're 5. Their personal bookshelves have more books than most adults'. Reading is the way of life in our family. Research has shown that reading to your children is one of the best--and possibly the best--thing you can do with them. But if you're not an avid reader, you might need some tips to incorporate reading into your daily life with your children:
Buy a good book on books! Jim Trelease's "Read-Aloud Handbook" is the gold standard, as is Gladys Hunt's "Honey for a Child's Heart." There's also Sarah Clarkson's "Read for the Heart," and the classic, "Books Children Love." All four not only have great booklists for every age and genre (type of book), but also great tips for reading to your children.
After you've done that, take them to the library, even if they're babies. Children need to grow up familiar with and fond of their local library. Take them to storytime, or just create your own. My oldest son's first trip was when he was three weeks old, and I read board books to him. He didn't have a clue what I was doing, but it started the weekly tradition that we continue nine years later.
Establish a daily reading time. Fifteen minutes is appropriate for young toddlers, and the habit of attention that they develop will soon find you reading for much longer stretches. If you're not used to reading aloud, this is a good amount of time to start with for you, too.
Don't expect active toddlers (or boys of any age!) to sit still! Allow your younger ones to draw or play quietly with Legos, etc. Research shows that many kids pay better attention if they can move. Forcing a busy three year old to sit on the couch next to you will work against you. Trust me. Our only rule is that everybody must be quiet, except for asking questions or commenting on the story. But nobody has to sit still! If you read with enthusiasm, and let the story speak for itself, instead of interrupting yourself with reading comprehension questions (I'm a former language arts teacher, and the impulse still runs strong!), you'll find they are more interested, and those wiggly boys might even sit still!
Remember that reading is supposed to be enjoyable. If you don't like the book you're reading, and neither does your child, find another one. Everybody has different tastes, and with the wealth of books now published, you can find one that will suit everybody. There's no hard and fast rule that you have to read certain books. Let your children have a voice and help you choose the stories, and they'll be more willing to listen.
And last, model for your children what you want them to do. If you surround yourself with books and reading material, and you read in front of them--purely for enjoyment--they will see that reading is a worthy pursuit. If you treasure your books and teach them to take good care of theirs, they will see that books are special. And if you read with them, just for the fun of it, they will see that they are important, too.
Don't stop when they go to school; keep up the read-aloud times, and you'll find that you've created an easy way into their hearts and lives, as you discuss books and enjoy being together. Reading can become a lifelong habit that will bless them, and you!