Friday, May 12, 2006

Important Parenting Tip #1: Read!

One of the most wonderful things you can do for and with your child is to read to him/her. When my son was about six months old, I started reading to him every afternoon before his nap and as he got older we added a nighttime story to the mix. When he was a toddler, he and I would go to the library every two weeks and get 10 or 15 books at a time. He loved to scour the shelves and find new books to read each time, as well as old favorites. He loved to sit and look at the books on his own, as well as have me read them to him. We didn't often have any extra money back then for toys, but I could always find extra money for books if he found one or two he wanted. Once he entered school, our afternoon reading times were gone but the nighttime reading stayed a part of our lives until he was in the sixth grade... and I was rather devastated when it finally ended. Our reading time was magical for me, and I hope for him.

There is no doubt in my mind that our reading time and his exposure to the written word all his life have helped him in his education in so many, many ways. He loves to read, he's a total brain in school, and his taste in authors is very sophisicated. For the past several years, he has asked for a book or two for Christmas; it started four years ago with Homer's The Illiad and The Odyssey, then Stephen Hawking's The Universe in a Nutshell and The Illustrated History of Time, then Dante's The Divine Comedy, this past year it was Honoré de Balzac's Droll Stories and Les Contes Drolatiques. Shoot, he's introduced me to authors I'd never heard of or thought about before! And to think, it all started with afternoon reading time when he was six months old.

So, give your child the gift of reading; you, and your child, will be so much the richer for it!

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