I recently picked up a habit worth keeping -- reading a chapter book with my child every single day! Thanks to Mrs. O'Rourke, the extraordinary school librarian at my children's school, she introduced a program to our school called "one school, one book", which is a program that is designed to create a shared reading experience with your child. The idea is to choose a chapter book to read with your child over the course of a single month and gain some of the benefits featured below.
I have noticed that this experience has helped me to teach my children a love for reading at an early age through an interest and effort to read together. When this program was introduced we immediately began reading together at home and developed a new daily routine. It soon became a habit for us and turned into our daily ritual of togetherness with a love of reading and learning.
On a recent family trip to Boston, and over the course of our one hour flight back home, my 10-year old daughter and I read over five chapters of the classic tale, Charlotte's Web. For one, I must say, I will love every spider I meet and may even smile, rather than cringe, after I see one creeping up on my wall! What stood out at me the most was the storyline about Wilbur the pig and how he considered himself to be just an average pig. But, it was his spider friend, Charlotte, who believed in him to be absolutely wonderful, so, he too began to believe he was wonderful!
My favorite excerpt from the pages of Charlotte's Web is: "When Charlotte's web said SOME PIG, Wilbur had tried hard to look like some pig. When Charlotte's web said TERRIFIC, Wilbur had tried to look terrific. And now that the web said RADIANT, he did everything possible to make himself glow."
Reading these precious lines of love and admiration that Charlotte has for her friend Wilbur, made my efforts of reading with my child unprecedented! I enjoyed the radiant smile it brought to both of our faces when we read the thought provoking lines about how if someone believes you are outstanding, it gives you the confidence and ability to become outstanding!
The excerpt I mention above reminds me of scenes from my novel, S.W.A.K., a novel of ultimate betrayal. It is pretty clear that the main character, Lauren was raised in a dysfunctional family situation, and, her parents were not equipped to instill the confidence in her that she needed. In the novel, Lauren meets a mentor and a friend named Carl Hill. Carl was with Lauren what Charlotte was to Wilbur; he offers Lauren the encouragement and confidence she needs to believe in herself by telling her she too is radiant and wonderful! Carl instilled in Lauren the confidence and hope that Charlotte instills in Wilbur. I find this to be a powerful message to send to our young ones, to instill confidence in them and to praise who they are.
I have had great success with reading with my children and will continue the habit and routine of reading together daily, to promote and encourage literacy and confidence.
Here are five reasons why developing a habit of reading daily with your child can instill confidence, knowledge, and a love of reading:
1. Students who read 20 minutes per day score in the 90th percentile on standardized tests vs. students who read for 1 minute per day score in the 10th percentile on standardized tests.
2. Reading with your child, or alongside your child, models a love of reading for your child.
3. Students and children listen better and longer and develop a wider vocabulary.
4. Reading together promotes social and emotional interactions among family members.
5. Reading together engages children and parents in a nurturing way.