Be Bookish

Fill your House with Stacks of Books, in All the Crannies and All the Nooks

By on October 23, 2016




Theodor Seuss Geisel. Does the name ring a bell? It probably won’t at first glance. However, if I were to tell you that some of his famous works include “The Cat in the Hat,” “The Lorax,” and “Horton Hears a Who!,” then you would definitely know who he is.

Of course, everyone knows the beloved Dr. Seuss. Not only is he famous for his words of wisdom but he is also an American writer, poet, and cartoonist who is widely known for his children’s books and illustrations.

Dr. Seuss once said, “Fill your house with stacks of books, in all the crannies and all the nooks”. What did he mean by that? It’s simple, really. He was basically encouraging everyone, particularly parents, to make sure they have enough books in their house for children to read. I am assuming that while Dr. Seuss’ words apply to all ages, these were specifically aimed at young children to help them develop a fondness for books. What brought this about?

Well, according to Wikipedia, Life magazine published a report in May of 1954, and in it, the magazine disclosed the high level of illiteracy among schoolchildren. According to the report, the reason why children were not too fond of reading was that their books bored them. Hence, Dr. Seuss was commissioned to write a 250-word book using a list of 348 words that were vital for first-graders to learn and recognize. After nine months, Dr. Seuss completed “The Cat in the Hat” using only 236 words from the list. The fact that the book used simplified vocabulary made it a hit amongst children who were just starting to read.

Other books written by Dr. Seuss that were similar to “The Cat in the Hat” became popular, too, and continuously sold numerous copies. This was a clear sign that not all is lost as far as encouraging children to read and love books went.

Personally, I love books. In fact, I consider myself a bibliophile, and as much as possible, I try to encourage my kids to develop the same love for books and reading. I’m telling you, though; it’s no easy feat. Times are so much different today. Technology has gotten more advanced, and gadgets of all kinds are within easy reach of children. I’m sure you know a handful of kids who would rather play games on their Wii, Xbox, or iPad than read books. It should be alarming, but unless parents try to do something about it, children will continue with their ways.

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handy

Most children hate reading because they think it’s boring. They would even say they don’t have time for it or the book they’re reading is too hard to understand. As frustrating as it looks, the reasons are understandable for the simple fact that children typically have very short attention span. Therefore, it’s up to you, as the parent, to think of ways to make the task appealing. You need to remember, though, that nagging, bribing, setting unrealistic goals, criticizing your child’s book choices, and making such a big deal out of reading will not get you anywhere.

Rather than force it to your child, try to make it bearable for your kid. Before long, he’ll grow to appreciate books and develop genuine fondness for these. How can you do that?

Take time to read with your kid. Grab a book and snuggle under the covers while you and your child read his favorite story. Believe me; reading together is a great motivating tool to get your child to start loving books. Moreover, since children generally consider reading a boring task, make sure to keep it fun for him. Make the storytelling or reading time interactive. Ask questions or make him finish the sentences, sort of like filling in the blanks. You’ll both have a good laugh as he thinks of the right words to finish the sentence off. You could even re-enact some of the scenes on the book or create funny sound effects while reading.

If you’re familiar with the website Goodreads, they have there an annual reading challenge wherein you will challenge yourself to read a certain number of books in one year. You can do something similar with your kid. Create a chart or graph that would serve as a visible record of your child’s reading achievements. Every time he marks his progress, he’ll feel a sense of accomplishment. This, in turn, would egg him on to continue reading.

Finally, give your child a free hand in choosing which books he wants to read. His choices would give you an idea what genre he’s interested in and you can use that knowledge to develop his interest in reading further.

 

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Be Bookish

The Benefits of Reading to Your Kids Now that They’ve Grown

By on November 20, 2013

 

It has always been that parents read to their children when they were very little not only to help them learn new words and increase their vocabulary. It is a form of bonding and an early attempt in injecting in them the love of reading. But as these kids grow older and are able to read independently, moms and dads tend to reduce the time spent telling them stories and leave them to peruse books on their own.

But did you know that it’s still important to read to your kids even if they are older?

Think about it: the primary way that children learn how to read is by listening first. They enrich their vocabulary and discover the meanings of new words by hearing how they are pronounced and used in sentences. Books provide avenues for this kind of academic learning. You can start with short stories for your first grader then eventually go for Shakespeare or science fiction when your kids reach sixth or seventh grade.

books
making her pick

Reading to older children not only develops their vocabulary. Coupled with a question-and-answer type of interaction, it also helps them understand complex ideas or story plots. This can be done by discussing the story line with your kids after reading a chapter or the entire narrative of a book. Engage them in conversations revolving around the story by asking questions like “What do you think will happen next?” or “If you were the character, would you do the same?” or “Do you think it could have ended differently?”

Also, regardless the age of your children, reading to them encourages their love for literature. Your kids will pick up your passion for reading because they see your desire in poring over books for hours.

More importantly, spending time reading to your kids, even if they’re older, strengthens the bond between the parent and child. When your children grow up, they will surely remember and treasure those moments when you cuddled in front of their favorite book and got lost in the story together. And when they have kids of their own, they would definitely want to experience the same kind of relationship like you had with them.

It doesn’t matter if it takes an hour or just 5 minutes of each day. Reading to your kids even if they’re older will reap great benefits for your children academically and emotionally.

 

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Be Bookish | Reading Nook

Giving Kids Their Own Reading Spot

By on May 4, 2013

 

It’s not like the “corner.”  A reading nook that will encourage your kids to read at home should not be a place that they associate with something that happens when they get into mischief.  It has to be a fun place where they can have their own adventure whether from the stories that they read or from stories that they create themselves.  An age-appropriate reading nook will make it easier for your children to develop the love for reading and learning.

For toddlers and pre-school aged kids, your reading nook should have padded floors and walls.  You can have a book rack with all his favorite books.  Make sure that your reading nook furniture pieces do not have sharp corners.  Better yet, you can have throw pillows on the floor where you and your little one can cuddle up for reading time.  Some reading nooks have puppet stages or doll houses where the characters of the storybook adventures can come alive.

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bookstore reading corner

Older kids who can read by themselves should already have an organized reading nook.  They would need to have their own reading chair.  Parents should still have their own spot in their child’s reading nook to allow him to be with his child when he wants to have company while he reads.  For families with more than one child, having a small table with a few chairs around can accommodate kids who want to spend reading time together.

Teeners are a little bit of a challenge to build or designate any space for.  Some teeners would opt to isolate themselves in their rooms while they read and do other things.  You can still find a way to give your teen his own reading spot while at the same time giving him some privacy.  He can actually have his nook inside his room.  Or, if you don’t want him staying in his room all the time, you can give him his own corner in the den or build him a comfortable reading perch out in the yard.

Unlike adult reading nooks, children’s reading nooks are often more colorful.  Relaxation is often not the goal when kids go to their nooks.  Mental stimulation and stirring their imagination is the goal of reading.  A children’s reading nook is therefore often a fun and exciting place.  When they have such a space where they can let their imagination run wild, kids will surely go from one book to another without much coaxing.

reading nook
photo by Supergail – http://www.flickr.com/photos/12387001@N00/

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