As a mother of three, professional speaker, author, and business strategist, I know firsthand how important reading is starting at an early age. In fact, it is one of the very reasons why I became an author; to write books that encourage writers to write, readers to read, and children to imagine.
While in the throngs of motherhood, each of my children loved to read and be read to, however, that was not without its own set of challenges. What is now called the “summer slide” in reading, so many children do not have access to books or reading materials when they are not in school, and it takes a toll once the child enters the school year again. So much so, that teachers take the first few weeks just to play catch-up and get everyone back on track from the previous year just a few months prior. Taking the time to read every day with your children not only fosters bonding and imagination, but instills the importance of reading, writing, and vocabulary. These three elements will prove to be highly sought after in their adult life; not just for educational purposes.
However, it’s not always that easy. My middle daughter had a learning disability in reading that proved to be frustrating for not only her, but as her parent witnessing how she wanted so badly to be able to read by herself and unfortunately compared herself to other classmates. Knowing how important it would be for her future, we collaborated with her teachers to strategize ideas and opportunities, as well as utilized additional resources through Sylvan Learning Center. By taking a proactive approach, we were able to maintain and grow with her disability and foster a great collaboration with her teachers to ensure a positive learning environment. As a soon-to-be Senior in college, I’d say the time and dedication in elementary and high school was well worth it.
Another family dynamic we developed was Drop Everything and Read. During the summer, each child had a designated week to be the Read Leader. As Read Leader, at any time they could say during the day “drop everything and read!” no matter what time of the day it was. This gave them power to make decisions and everyone in the family had to stop everything and read for 20 minutes. Our kids still do it in their adult lives. To be honest it was not always convenient during dishes, bath time, or meal prep, but we honored it. Looking back it was precious uninterrupted time.
Reading is a lifelong skill; one that must be refined and worked on well into adulthood. To foster that love at an early age will only enhance one’s life.