Buying books as gifts

        As adults we know this: If you want to learn to drive, you need access to a car. If you want to learn to cook, you need access to a stove. If you want to learn to paint, you need access to paints.

        Letís apply this to children and reading: If you want them to learn to read, you need to give them access to books.

        With this in mind, and as we head toward a time of the year when many families are involved in gift-giving, I urge you to consider directing part of this effort toward giving the gift of reading to your child. Yes, children do need toys so that they can play. They also need books if they are to learn to read.

        There is enough time so that you can contact members of your extended family. Perhaps this can be a theme that encompasses all the children in your family. That which is important to parents becomes important to children. If parents make reading and books important, their children will pick up on this and make it important, too.

        Once you give the books, you can maximize their effectiveness by:

  • instituting regular reading time at your home. Everyone reads, either individually, in pairs, or as a group.
  • taking books with you when you travel.
  • spending more time reading than watching television or playing video and computer games.
  • planning regular visits to the public library to check out books. It is not necessary to own all the books one reads.
  • getting some books on tape to listen to during long car trips.
  • having regular book discussions at dinner time or other family time. Each person in the family talks about the book s/he is reading. Regular talks of this type will allow people to fill each other in on progress of plot and characters. This is especially important for younger children, as they aspire to be like their older family members.

        By doing this, you are laying the foundation for children to be lifelong learners and lifelong readers.


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