A love of reading is often discovered at a young age and is a tremendous asset for anyone; readers have an entire world available to them that non-readers don’t benefit from. They can learn skills, entertain themselves, glean wisdom from history, and find inspiration for self-improvement using nothing but a (free!) public library.
Yet sometimes, though children can read, they see it more as required work than a privilege and miss out on the joy that the habit can bring.
There are ways you can help your children, or the children in your life, catch on to the delights of the written word. Of course, this begins with you! Loving books yourself and spending time in them is the first and most important way to nurture readers. If you only sometimes enjoy books, think about the ones you like best. Are they novels? Historical commentary? How-to volumes? Examine what speaks to you most, seek it out at your library, and relish it on a regular basis.
Next—equally as important—read to and with your children. This takes time, but is an investment in their learning, mindset, and future. Perhaps set aside a time of day (After naptime? Before bed?) and make that reading time, consistently. Welcome them and share your excitement and they will grow to treasure and look forward to these times.
When picking out the books you read, choose a wide variety of styles and subjects. The wider the variety of subjects you cover, the more likely they’ll find those that speak most to them. Share what you love best, but be flexible if they like something else even more. Find out what your friends and librarians love, and check out new things that widen your perspective. Be a learner as well, setting them an example to follow.
Public libraries are a wonderful resource. Teach your children young that the library is a fun place to go. Help them get their own library cards. Take advantage of the many kinds of learning and activities available there. Help them learn to appreciate using a “library voice” and taking good care of the books. Allow them to choose some themselves, even when very young, and help them find the ones that appeal to their interests. The gap between books about things you love and loving books is not a wide one at all.
Finally, as much as possible, find good books for your child to own. Write their name on the flyleaf and demonstrate taking good care of the book. Choose titles you know they will treasure and read them together, again and again.
Reflection is worth the investment of time required: looking into the past can help us live a calmer, better-informed present, and plan more strategically for the future. You just might discover that after deep reflection, you're now a more balanced, knowledgeable, and grateful person, better able to contribute your unique gifts more powerfully to the world around you.