Positively Impacting Kids Through Books
I usually do book reviews on this blog, but I've decided to change things up a bit. I'm going to still do reviews, but it's not going to be the sole purpose of this forum. I want to use this to talk about some subjects that I feel are very important. Things that I think can impact our lives, our kids lives, and the world as a whole. It's likely to still be very kid centered, but we'll see where it goes as I don't want to limit my thoughts if something were to arise at a later point.
If you know me, you likely know that one of the things that I'm passionate about is kids reading (or being read to). As a parent, I think this on one of the absolute most important things we can do for our children. Positively impacting kids through books is one of the best ways that we can ensure they lead a better life than we did.
During my author visits, many kids ask, "Why are you an author?" My answer (in a nutshell) is that I had an inspirational moment that resulted in my first published book The Ball That Did Not Like to Bounce. When I re-read what I had written, I knew that the book needed to be published. I knew that there were kids out in the world that needed to hear the message of my book. I talk about how I hope that through publishing this book, I can have a positive impact on a child's life. I think many authors have this same dream about their creations. We have the common goal of positively impacting kids through books.
How to maximize the impact of books
Life is busy. Plain and simple. As parents, family members, friends, neighbors, employees, business owners, managers, etc, we have so many things pulling us in every direction at once. Taking the time to be intentional about getting our kids to read tends to be one of those things that gets easily put on the back burner. It does take time. It does take effort. However, the positive ramifications of our kids reading are immense. There is study after study speaking to the positive impact of books on a child's life.
To help in this process, I'm going to lay out a three things we can do as parents to help to maximize the positive impact of books on kids.
#1 Be intentional about the books you choose
Whether you are buying them from a store, getting them from the library, or borrowing them from a friend, being intentional about the books you choose is important. As many times as I'm able, when my kids express an interest in something, I try to get a book for them to read about the subject. You love gymnastics? Here's a book. You want to learn more about Alligators? Here's a book. Your grandparents are visiting China? Here's a book. You're going into 2nd grade? Here's a book. Kids are curious creatures by nature. They want to know more about the things around them. Use that curiosity to your advantage.
Another way that I try to be intentional about the books that I choose is by finding a topic that I think is important for my kids to learn like diversity and inclusion, bullying, cooking, farming, animals, and more. There are blog posts and articles in abundance on the internet that talk about the best books of a specific subject. It's easy to find those articles online, do a search through my local library, and order in almost every book on that list.
#2 Utilize your local library
Hands down, this is the best resource that we can utilize in getting kids to be positively impacted by books. We use the Hennepin County Library, and we can get 50 books at a time on one library card. There have been many occasions that we've had to remove books from our pile because we are at our limit. The more choices my kids have to choose from, the higher the likelihood they'll find something they want to read.
It's also a great resource for getting kids to experience many different subjects at once with very little effort besides picking up a book. The variety of subjects that can be found at the library is astounding. You really can travel the world and learn about cultures, animals, folk stories, and so much more within those walls.
Many libraries have online portals where you can order books/movies/cds/etc, the librarians pick all the books out for you, and all you have to do is go to your reserve spot to get the books and check them out. How simple is that?!?
#3 Read with/to your kids
One of my favorite times with my kids is right before bed. Unless we are up waaaaay too late or there is a ton of fighting leading up to bedtime, I always read books with them. Typically, I have them each choose one book to read. We lay down right in the hallway between their rooms and read. This designated reading time not only helps to ensure they read at least a little bit that day, but it also is a great bonding time with my kids. That time before bed (hopefully) will be something they will remember for the rest of their lives.
Reading is so important to a child's development. Being intentional about what our kids read can help to positively impact a child's direction in their life, to help them become better human beings than we are, to help create a better world than what we currently live in.
Preview of my next Author Thought entitled
"What to do when my kids don't like to read"
I've got one child that LOOOOOVES to read. She reads so much that she's built several "reading corners" for herself so she can disappear to a quite spot by herself to read. I've also got one that doesn't hate to read, by any means, but would prefer to be moving and doing than sitting and reading. The first child, can be easily swayed when I say, "Okay, time to read." The other takes a fair amount more work to get settled down long enough to read a book or two.
I found this insightful article on PBS that can help work through some strategies in these situations. Check out the article from PBS entitled What to do When Your Child Hates Reading.
I'm the author of the book called The Ball That Did Not Like to Bounce, and I have a passion for books with good messages that help kids to be a better version of themselves. Better kids = better future for everyone. If I can affect even one child and nudge them one notch closer to being a better them, then I have achieved my goal! I do Author Visits and work to share with kids that we are all unique and special.
My question to you:
What other methods do you use to help your kids read books that positively impact their lives?