Becoming lifelong readers
         Parents are in a powerful position to show their young ones the
importance of reading, as well as the value of being lifelong readers.

         We most commonly think about books when we talk about reading. But
what about the many other objects around us that require reading? There are
menus, newspapers, transit schedules, tax forms, contracts, stock reports, food
containers, recipes, graphs, road signs, maps, and instructions for putting things
together. Your approach to these, in your childís presence, will be crucial for
helping him to see reading as a useful and necessary life skill and tool.

         Share this concept with your child: various types of reading work in
different ways. For example, when looking up a program in the TV listings, you
explain how you have to skim down the left-hand column, passing the hours in
chronological order. When looking up a destination on a map, you demonstrate
how the alphabetical index works, and then how you match the coordinates
given on the map itself to find the destination. When looking at a recipe, you
show how there are two parts to it: the list of ingredients and the process you use
for putting them together.

         Being able to read in these situations will enable you to find the program
you want to watch, find the place you want to go, and prepare the food you
want to eat. These are valuable motivations for being able to read.

         Another important lesson you teach is that you do not have all the
answers just because you are an adult. Children think their parents, teachers,
and most other adults are omnipotent. We have it all! We make the rules, not
follow them. No wonder that their play in adult roles includes lots of giving orders
to each other!

         But it is valuable to get across the idea that adults, just by virtue of being
adults, do not have all the answers! We continue to learn, too, as we grow up.
And we always will.

         This column has been incorporated and expanded in Teach Your Children
Well: A Teacherís  Advice for Parents.

All columns are copyright © Jay Davidson. Permission is hereby granted for individuals to download and copy them for individual use. There is a modest charge for printing these columns in any publication. To receive that permission, contact Jay Davidson