The Journey of Cultivating Good Readers

boy in gray jacket reading book
Photo by Maël BALLAND on

My source of truth is the Scripture. The Bible, is a book. If I am not a good reader, if I don’t enjoying the process of reading, or if my comprehension skills or poor, reading the Bible could be a difficult or confusing task.

I have come across many a person who struggles with loving reading the Bible, because he or she does struggles through the process of reading.

Learning to love reading comes naturally to a lot of children, but there are some children and I have two in my home, who have wrestled developing a love for reading. One of my daughters was just diagnosed with dyslexia and the other has autism. So, learning has come at a struggle for both of them. Some children just never develop a love for reading because of the home culture or school culture they were given as children.

If reading is not valued at home, one cannot expect children to learn to love it. If reading is only relegated to the formal learning environment it can often be only seen as schoolwork, and not a lifestyle.

I was one of those mothers who read to my children before they were born. I read to them before they knew what a book was. I read to them at breakfast, lunch, and bedtime. I am not saying that these reading times were without fail, but reading to my children has been a habit that has sometimes been paused due to various life circumstance such as new baby or moving, but picked back up with ease when time availed me again. Before we had a school budget, I had no money for our own books. I made regular trips to the library with my children. We made good use of library story times and librarians when my children were really young.

Although we still make regular trips to the library, I have taken time in the past five to six years to add to our home library.

I also chose a method of education, Charlotte Mason, that relies heavily on good literature, rather than textbooks for education. We have read so many good books for school, that even my love of books has grown through teaching my children with the backbone of good literature.

There are so many mothers who are book enthusiasts and have written books on books. There are you-tube channels and blogs that value reading at home and have tips and methods of developing good readers. So, my thoughts on the subject are nothing new, but I am going to mention what I have done to building a love for reading in our home. I will note, that this is certainly an ongoing process in our home, since we have a couple readers that struggle and although they readily agree to be read too, they will not generally chose to sit and read a book.

Here are some basic thoughts I had about what we did.

Our Example. My husband is dyslexic, and never received help in that area, so he really wrestles with reading a book, but throughout the past eight years, he has gone back to college for two degrees. And that has provided our children plenty of opportunity to see him with a book. I have books I am reading all over the house and am aways reading.

Reading Aloud. As mentioned earlier, both my husband and I have read to our children, even before birth. We still read to them, but this is usually done by me since I am our children’s primary teacher and am with them all day. I read to them constantly for school. Since my children are of different ages and interests, I started taking turns with each child and reading for thirty-forty minutes each day after lunch. That way, the child gets snuggling time alone with mommy, as well as a book I have carefully chosen for him or her.

Availability of books. We have not always had the income for adding books to our library, but we did spend time at the library at least once a week and always brought piles of books home. As I build our home library, I am careful to keep a lot of variety as well as titles and series that are created by the best illustrators and authors. Generally we find old books and classics on our shelves, but I do have some newer books as I discover them as well. I consider good books a great investment for my children and for future generations.

Learning about books. I read books about reading and books about books. My mother-in-law gifted me Gladys Hunt’s book: Honey for a Child’s Heart shortly after our first child was born. Since then I have added Book Girl by Sarah Clarkson, Read for the Heart by Sarah Clarkson, Steeped in Stories by Mitali Perkins, and Honey for a Teens Heart also by Gladys Hunt. I read blogs about books and try to find some of the best versions of books so my children will experience books being beautiful and rich in color and text.

Enthusiasm is contagious. Both my husband and I get excited about books. When my children read a book, we let them know our interests to hear about the story they are reading. I talk with other mothers about books and my children see those conversations are full of interest and excitement. I am greatly encouraged when my children join in those conversations and pull out some of their favorite books…even school books…and talk about them with enthusiasm too. When we get books in the mail, I get excited and all the children gather around to see what new adventures await.

Reading is a way of life. Reading is woven into our lives. There is not a day that passes that my children have not read or been read too. It is not associated only with school, but with life. We just read. Because books are laying around in our house, it is easy for me to grab something close and read it to the children while they eat lunch. Sometimes, I have a book we are working through, like our current lunch reading Never Give In, the Story of Winston Churchill. While we are on vacation from school, I just pick up whatever we have around. Often a picture book from the library or a light children’s story. My children listen to audio books while playing a game on a tablet or computer. (Listening to audio-books is a great way to instill a love for books, for those who struggle with reading).

Associate reading wonderful things. We snuggle and read. We read while we eat. We read by the fire. We read snuggled in bed. We read outdoors on a sunny day. We read at the park. We read while having tea and cookies. Now we don’t just read while enjoying the comforts of life, but I do make appoint to create a pleasant experience based around our reading times.