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parenting tips

How can I instill a love of reading in my child?

Don't buy into the multimedia hype. I hear many parents expressing the opinion that books have already lost the war against electronic entertainment. These parents assume that, given a choice, children will always pick TV, movies, computers, and electronic games over books. I disagree. There has never before been such a varied and exciting marketplace of books for kids of all ages. And the books are selling!

I've also discovered that when a child loves to read, he will read, no matter what else is going on. I was impressed by the story of one child who so loved Roald Dahl's book "James and the Giant Peach" that he refused to see the movie version. "I already imagined all the characters," he said. "I don't want them to be spoiled." And I'm thrilled with the extraordinary "Harry Potter" phenomenon, which proved children still can be turned on by the magic of books, even in our high-tech world where so many kids seem permanently attached to a screen.

I believe that a love of reading is one of the greatest gifts we can give our children. One of my heroes is Jim Trelease, whose "Read-Aloud Handbook" is one of the best sources for information on encouraging your children to read. Trelease has taught countless parents, teachers, and administrators to help kids fall in love with books. To parents who claim they're too busy to read to their children, he writes, "If Americans were out of time, the video stores would be in bankruptcy, you'd have only ten TV channels (one set to a house), and the mall parking lot would be three-quarters empty. We have time for what we value. The people who found the time to read to a child had the same 24 hours as the person who had no time...but did watch their favorite team on TV or the afternoon soap they taped, did find the time to talk on the phone for 35 minutes...and the time to run over to the mall for an errand."

Here are a ten easy ways you can encourage your child to read:

  1. -Take the time to read aloud to your child, and make it a priority—ideally every day or evening.
  2. -Introduce your child to your favorite books from when you were young.
  3. -Be a reader yourself--children learn by following our example!
  4. -Have lots of books (stories, poems, jokes, kids' magazines) in every room of your house.
  5. -When you go on errands or appointments with your kids, make sure you have books with you.
  6. -Make going to the library a regular, fun ritual. Get your child his own library card.
  7. -Keep the TV out of your child’s room and turn it off at mealtime.
  8. -When you read to your child, be lively and dramatic. Exaggerate, use difference voices, etc.
  9. -Give your child the gift of your physical closeness and undivided attention that reading allows.
  10. -Dads, read to your kids as much as you can. Don’t let them think it’s only Moms who read.


More Solutions to Parents' FAQs can be found in Nancy's books and articles found below.

Antidotes to Spoiling Kids
No parent sets out to raise a spoiled child. Here are antidotes to spoiling kids . . . and not just over the holidays.

How to Know if your Child is Spoiled
Are you caught in these spoiling traps?
Find out the traits of a spoiled child and learn to show love without spoiling.

• Sibling Rivalry
Learn nine solutions for handling sibling rivalry.

Have Your Kids Take the Sibling Survey
This unique questionnaire for parents to give their children will help parents better understand sibling and family relationships and offer clues to how kids really feel about their brothers and sisters.

Positive Discipline
Positive discipline alternatives to yelling, nagging, bribing, threatening and punishing.

Avoid Spanking
Spare the rod: to spank or not to spank?


Eight Weapons in the War on Anger
Nancy offers parents & Educators effective skills to handle their anger without hurting or insulting kids.