I experienced a proud parenting moment the other day. We took the kids to a mall and, when given a choice of how to spend their money (we gave them each $20), they both decided they wanted to buy books rather than clothes or toys.
Even though my daughters both like to read, this is something that has actually been a bit of a challenge as they’ve gotten older. They have a variety of other activities they are interested in and, mostly because I know how important reading is, I have had to be somewhat creative when it comes to keeping them excited about books. Fortunately, I was able to come up with three ways that have made the job a lot easier.
First, I make books a reward for them. My daughters do not receive an allowance (I make them earn their spending money other ways). However, I am not opposed to rewarding them for excellent grades at school, trying a new food, etc. And, in most cases, the reward happens to be a trip to the book store. I’m not exactly sure why this works. But, the fact the books are treated as some sort of prize does seem to get them much more excited about picking out a new one.
Second, I’m getting them involved in some of our local book clubs. This is mostly our oldest daughter right now (she participates in an American Girl book club at our local library) but, eventually, her younger sister will be doing this too. By being part of the book club, not only does she read the book, she gets a chance to discuss it with her peers and even do some fun arts and crafts projects. It’s something our oldest daughter looks forward to every month as a result.
Last, I have them create their own books. This actually started last fall when I wrote a short story called “The Lonely Leaf” and had the girls create some artwork to go with it using real leaves. They had a blast and, since then, we have made this a regular father/daughter project (this includes letting my oldest daughter illustrate some of my published books).
As I said before, my daughters do have a variety of interests now. But, thanks, in part, to these steps, I am confident reading will remain one of those interests and they will always be excited whenever they get a chance to open up a new book.