Read, read, read to them.
Doesn’t have to be long, but it does have to be frequent. As often as you can. Every night is the ideal, but as often as you can.
There’s a story that Jamie Roblin, my son’s former kindergarten teacher, told me. It has stuck in my head and never left me. And it’s this.
He said that when he goes to read to a class, as soon as he opens the book he can tell you exactly who has been read to and who hasn’t. Just by their reaction to the opened book, he knows which kids are regularly read to.
He said that the kids who are read to, respond in a certain way to the opening of a book: they come closer, they sit up, they open their eyes and get more excited, they get ready to listen–they want to listen. That’s because, he said, they know what to expect. They know that a book is a story, an adventure, an exciting ride.
That’s what creating a reading environment does. Fostering a love of reading opens your child up to adventure. And it creates a life-long love of reading. And that’s a very, very good thing.
The lovely family in the picture with this post is fostering a reading environment… with my picture book, Gabby. This picture represents all of the best things about being an author. Look, just look at the older sister showing the toddler the book. Look at the toddler reaching out… she almost wants to climb inside the book. She is so focussed. And the dad–the dad is right there as well. This is it, folks. This is it!