With three children, ages 8 - 14, I have always tried to instill my love of reading onto them, but as any parent will tell you, that's much easier said than done. With multiple kids, comes vastly different reading levels and interests, so trying to accommodate each of them is a daily struggle. I have one who loves to read, one who will do anything to avoid it, and one that falls right in the middle showing no emotion, either way.
One day, it hit me that I had the power to turn things around and get them all interested in books by approaching it in a whole new way!
Being a writer, I have always thought about authoring a children's book, but my ideas were only coming from my own point of view, thoughts, and experiences. I finally realized that in order to create a great book, I couldn't just write about what I thought would be interesting, I needed to ask my audience (i.e. kids) what they thought would not only be interesting, but unique and fascinating, as well!
I had three idea-generating machines sitting right next to me this whole time!
It was then that I began to talk with each child about which subjects interest them most when they go to the library, book fairs, and stores. It's not that I didn't know what books they were reading or bringing home, it's that I never really asked:
- Was this book your first pick?
- What books are everyone's favorites at the library and always checked out?
- Is there something you wish you could read about that you have never seen in a book before?
Making this simple change opened up a new world for the all of us. The older ones love talking to me about what would make a good story and my youngest has now started writing little stories that have stemmed from our conversations! I, in turn, have been able to introduce new reading material to each of them, based on what each child has told me they really love to read about.
All three of my kids still express a different level of enthusiasm when it comes to reading, but we have made huge progress by listening to each other's point of view and adding this new spin on it!
Reading is a fundamental skill that needs to be nurtured and encouraged throughout our entire life, but it's not something that comes easy for a lot of children. That is why we, as parents, must take the time to sit with our kids and talk with them about any struggles they may be having with reading, as well as to simply ask what inspires them to open a book and what we can do to make it more fun for them.
In case you're wondering, I haven't written my children's book yet. I am too busy collecting ideas while my kids are still willing to talk to me!