By Beth Pinyerd
As an elementary student, I can still remember how our teachers scheduled 30 minutes each day for our class to read.
These were usually chapter books that we looked forward to reading! Personally, I loved the mystery series “Nancy Drew” written under the collective pseudonym of Carolyn Keene.
October has been recognized as National Book Month since 2003. Reading has so many benefits in overall learning.
We gain knowledge from reading. Our vocabulary increases as we read and learn new words. Our memories are exercised as our brain remembers the characters in the book, how the plot unfolds and other key story details. It also contributes to sensory and mental stimulation as well as reducing stress.
With all the benefits, how can we as educators and parents encourage our children to love reading? Here are some tips that will help your children.
1) Reading aloud to your children benefits and encourages children to love books. From an earlier Classroom Observer column titled “Babies Can Read Too,” babies and young children can listen to your voice, see the pictures and help you turn the thick cardboard pages or vinyl books. Children can express a choice of the books they want to read. Preschool children love for us to read their favorite books over and over. Teachers can take time out in the classroom, parents can read aloud in the classroom.
2) Provide books around your home. In the preschool and elementary classroom, I love to see children totally absorbed and engaged in looking at books. Providing books, newspapers and magazines reinforces the importance of reading and the enjoyment of reading. Guide children on how to take care of their books.
3) Have your children choose books which they will enjoy. Our local libraries and staff are so good in guiding parents and children to the books they are showing interest. The Lewis Cooper Jr. Memorial Library has been this teacher’s best friend in gathering different theme books to my classes when I volunteer or substitute teach in a classroom.
4) Show or model to children how much you enjoy reading. Share with them what you are reading and ask them to read along with you. The Greater Generation of our society are avid readers. I see them reading in libraries, at home and outside. Their model encourages this Baby Boomer to want to read more to gain wisdom and for enjoyment.
5) Reading is a wonderful entertainment activity for children and their families. Choosing a night to read and share a good book strengthens family relations over the different ages within the family. During sharing time, remove any technological distractions.
6) October is also recognized as “National Reading Group Month.” Its mission is to promote the value of books and reading. Gathering a group of friends to form a book club can provide fellowship with new friends where you read passages from a chosen book and discuss its content. When volunteering with the elderly in facilities, I absolutely love to be a part of their book clubs which usually meet once a month. This same form of fellowship can be done with children, too. Make reading fun and enjoyable!
Abraham Lincoln emphasized the value of books so well: “The things I want to know are in books. My best friend is the man who’ll give me a book I haven’t read.”
Pinyerd has taught young children in the early childhood classroom for 34 years, as well as outreaching to the elderly in intergenerational settings. She has taught and outreached in the schools in Opelika and Baldwin County. She holds a master’s degree in early childhood education as well as a bachelor’s degree in family and child development both from Auburn University. Her husband is the late Carl Pinyerd, and she has one son, Gus Pinyerd, who has taught her so much about learning. Classroom Observer is here to serve the community in sharing the wonderful teaching programs in our local public schools, private schools and homeschools. The column is provided to enrich the education of our children, youth and families. Classroom Observer welcomes educational news, school news, pictures and events by e-mailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org.