Since putting up this post on instagram the other day I got a lot of people, some friends, some instagram followers asking for details on my kids’ reading journey. They wrote me faxed me phoned me and asked:
Can you give us a step by step from which book to go next or how do you get your children to read.
Did I sit down with them and teach them how to read?
Or just what books have they been reading through the years, starting middle and end.
One of my long time blog readers took out the time to call me and ask me to put up posts specially on books. She said that the last time she asked me about why I stopped writing on my blog, I told her that my kids are no longer wearing cloth diapers, breastfeeding or being worn in carriers so I have run out of things to say on that and I’m looking for my direction. She thinks books should be my new direction.
I stopped writing for a number of reasons. One of them is the above, but the other is that parenting just got to personal and raw to share. I made so many mistakes that I didn’t want to write about them for the moment , some moments were to painful at the time so I kept it all in until a time when the rawness goes away and I am able to share. That time is coming soon so stay tuned.
The reason I read with my kids is because I genuinely love books and they are my way of bonding with them, in the process their love for books may develop. I am not a physical person so lying down with a book was an easy way for me to spend time with them! Your way of bonding with your kids maybe through football or music which is fine too. Or you may be looking for some recommendations in which case I recommend you skip this and go to the next post, which has loads of recommendations for reading aloud to 5 year olds and above.
So… I thought I would do a series on what my kids read and how we have gone about this journey of reading as well as book recommendations. But I cannot do a step by step book post as all the books I have read with my kids has been a lot about fueling their individual passions and keeping their reading age in mind. Both kids have had a very different time lines for reading. I can only share what I did in the hope that you may find something in it that can help you go, oh! Let me try that, it sounds interesting.
Unfortunately this has turned into a whopping 6 part series on books so those of you who have asked me for it better read my ramblings on my favourite topic. The rest are excused.
This is post is about my philosophy (and no I didn’t pre think this, it came naturally and intuitively and I’m thinking about this now that I am penning it down), then all about the 2nd child’s books and journey , and then the 1st child’s journey and recommendations a note on audiobooks and one more bonus post.
If you’re considering purchasing I’d love it if you would click on the links on my blog. That way I’l make a tiny bit of money from Amazon and maybe buy more books! But even better than clicking on the links here is if you can buy from an independent bookstore.
So here goes.
For those of you who have stuck around for years and years, you know that this blog has been about my parenting journey and how I do things my way with my kids, the way that fits me and them as people, and don’t get too swayed by advice. Reading is one aspect where it’s been my way and my way only.
The main ingredient in the mix when it came to reading was never the intent of teaching my kids to read or raising readers. It was the knowledge deep down that they will know how to read, that’s not ever going to be a problem. When they started reading was never a concern either. I was ok with them reading at 5 or 7, I am a firm believer in letting kids learn at their own pace. I am also of the opinion that parents have far less control than we think we do. So the sooner we learn to accept that and take not a step but 10 steps back the better it is for everyone.
With that said the second ingredient was joy. Books have always given me joy. Their smell and the feel in my hands. The kindle has taken away that particular joy but I have learnt to get over it. I learn a lot when I read. I learn about history through stories, about travel, experience and human nature through stories. But its not only I. We as humans are unique in that we live in big groups like cities and countries but the only thing tying is with a society is the stories we tell ourselves and what our communities tell us. Stories are the essence of being human and for me books have been about that period. Not about alphabets not about teaching things and not about science, math, English and all these arbitrary (to kids) subjects.
Books for me have always been about fun and bonding and happy memories. When they grow up I wish when they look back, no matter what my faults, my sudden surges of insane anger, and my unfairness (because kids who have siblings always think they have been given the short end of the stick) I wish they look back and think of me fondly and the memory that lingers are those endless nights sitting in their beds reading to them. Books that made their eyes round, their mouths open, their smiles large, their laughter loud and their eyes brim over with tears. I wish their magical childhood remain intact whenever they read and stories bring out the same emotions they felt, the warmth and love, the memories of me and comfort.
I still remember that at those rare moments when doubts would creep in and I’d try and point out a word while reading aloud for them to try and read out loud, they’d get so angry. Children are clever things. They can call your bluff and mine didn’t like their fun reading time being about a pushy parent trying to make them learn something. I have never once introduced them to early readers like Peter and Jane or some bob books or any of those that many parents had told me to buy when I was supposed to be teaching learning.
And third, books are my life. I live and breathe them and I’ve always been a reader. Being authentic helps, but as my cousin who has raised a reader without her or my brother in law ever reading themselves has proved, it’s not a necessary ingredient and it is never too late to start.
Sadly I have given away a lot of my childens’ books from when they were younger but I do remember some of them I read to them as babies.
These are all books I bought for my older son. Till he was 2 he loved vehicles and so I had many big board books with big pictures of vehicles and lift the flap ones. He moved on to animals at some point after this second birthday.
For example the little blue truck had the best of both words, animals and trucks, both interests at one point so I researched and found it.
For some reason I recall he started liking owls and I read to him plenty of books about owls. Some of them really stand out
From a young age I got a lot of books based on interests.
Apart from these were all the favourites like goodnight moon, brown bear brown bear, very hungry caterpillar, dear zoo and pat the bunny and Julia Donaldson favourites. We read these every night at bed time.
In these next few posts I will focus more on chapter books, not because I feel that’s the best way to go, but because somehow I have enjoyed reading these more to the boys than picture books (I’l try and include some of our favourites of those too) which I and they didn’t like rereading and I didn’t want to waste money on books that you can read within on session never to be picked up again. if you have a child who loves to be reread the same books, feel free to search for posts on picture books, there are indeed some amazing ones out there.
Stay tuned for the posts on this topic coming up!
The next post talks about my recommendations to read aloud to a 5 year old.
Thanks for reading! Let me know in the comments if you find this series useful!