I have always known what it is to read, and it is by far one of my greatest indulgences. I grew up giggling at the antics of Moon Face in Enid Blyton’s The Magical Faraway Tree, longing to be as brave and daring as Nancy Drew, and the highlight of any night out with my parents was the post-restaurant visit to Exclusive Books, where I was encouraged to roam the aisles for what felt like hours, itching in anticipation and anxiety, knowing I was only allowed to bring home one book.
When my baby was born, the shelves in his room were already crammed with spines and pages just dying to be opened, everything ranging from the classics of Beatrix Potter to the naughty but oh-so-nice stories from Roald Dahl.
Even though he’s still too young to read, I encourage every moment with him to be a story. I show him his shape and colour books, and use them to point out correlating items in the room. I read him silly nursery rhymes in animated voices and am rewarded with his guttural giggles. Given his young age, his fascination with books currently sits with him trying to eat them, but I’m hoping when he’s old enough to understand the words, he will want to devour them in a whole new way.
It’s hard, in 2016, to break ourselves (let alone our kids) away from screen time. iPads, smartphones and computers are the norm in most households, and it’s all too easy to rely on a piece of technology to babysit your child.
I challenge myself, and all of you, to try break away from the blue-lights of these devices and crack open a book for you and your children. Babies adore the entertainment value, and older kids thrive on the adventure, the suspense and the imagination of it all. Take the time to visit a local library in your area, at your child’s school or even look out for a second hand book store. It’s incredible what treasures you can find in-between two covers.
As Jacqui Kennedy once said: “There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all.”
I would love to know how you encourage your kids to read, and what sort of books are popular today. Please share your thoughts in the comments.
By Kate Kearney