Christina, “Best piece of advice from a friend: Read with your kids every night (babies to elementary school aged kids). Make it part of their bedtime routine, they love it and I believe they become better students.” Tip #1
Christina’s routine on bedtime reading was a non-negotiable commitment in our home. I believe our dedication to the reading routine was the biggest contributing factor to raising a happy, well-adjusted, secure, and intelligent child.
Ironically, I hated reading and reading time. Now, in reflection, that time represents some of my fondest memories. Our commitment to reading was our commitment to Michael’s future. This is such a strong piece of advice!
I was never read to as a child, and struggle with reading to this day. I knew, before I was even pregnant, I would raise a reader. I was certain my kid would be able to read, and would read well. I started reading to Michael as soon as I found out I was pregnant.
I remember going to the library and picking out books on all topics, English, math, science and French. Yes, I even read math books. I wanted him to have a sample of all subjects. I was not exceptionally strong in any subject, so I had no bias. ☺
The consistency bedtime reading was a pillar of togetherness. No matter what event was planned, Michael would have his reading time. He insisted on it!
Every night, without fail, reading time was before bedtime. Big Mike and I would secretly, at times painfully, banter about whose turn it was. When we were tired, and dared to attempt skipping a line or a page, Michael was on to us. We could never get away with forgoing, or shortening, this designated time.
Of course, as Michael got older he would eventually do his own reading. For a transitional period, he would read to us. Soon he was enjoying a solo reading journey, and the adventures of “chapter books.”
To add another layer to this wonderful tip, and it is gold, so grab your highlighter: When your kid is looking to extend their bedtime, they feel they should stay up later – extend reading time, not TV/Computer time. I thought this was brilliant, even if I do say so myself. This gradually added an hour or more to Michael’s reading routine. What skill building!
In the early years, continuing to this day, Michael has been an exceptional reader. He is able to understand and retain large amounts of information, which has served him well throughout his education.
These days, it is more important than ever to raise a reader! With the vast amounts of literature on the internet, there is a lot to sift through. In internet searches, and in pursuit of a law degree, Michael’s reading skill has been a key component of his success.
I think, if a parent gets it wrong all-day-long, a great deal can be undone with a commitment to a daily reading routine, even just 15 minutes. To me, consistency is more important than duration.
As painful as reading time seemed to be, I’m sure Christina would agree, the pay-off is immeasurable! Raising a reader is one of my proudest accomplishments!!
Thanks Christina, for your input, and for the memories!