One topic that you’ll undoubtedly hear, if you hang around the shop long enough, is literacy.
We’ve written blogs on it. We’ve spoken at cons about it. We push it often. Why?
Literacy is a foundational skill. Like any other skill, it has to be developed, grown, and challenged in order to improve and provide use. My wife is currently teaching our 4 year old daughter how to tie her shoes. It requires dexterity, coordination, and TONS of patience. But, the intent is that, with continued practice and time, it will become second nature to our Little Middle.
Unlike tying shoes, however, literacy is a skill that is vital for functioning as a fully-formed human, and sadly, it is a skill that is evading a large number of kids in our area.
The definition of literacy includes the ability to read, write, comprehend, and gain useful knowledge. This means that we have to be able to not only read well, but take that information and synthesize it into something beneficial. Medication labels, microwave dinners, power tools, you name it, all require you to be able to read and put the information to use.
Take a look at this infographic.
And this one.
So how do we get kids to love reading? How do we get kids to want to read?? Give them books of ALL sorts. We need to put books in kids’ hands that speak to them and get them excited. If they show an interest in something, get them books about that subject. If your kid loves history, get them books about history. If your kid loves weather, get them books about how weather works. If they love the super hero movies that come out on a quarterly basis, get them comic books!
When a kid finds something that excites them and makes them want to read, even if it’s “above” their reading level, they’ll find a way to read it.
Read with your KIDS! This is vital. Spend time reading with them and having them read to you. Let them see YOU reading. When kids see mom and dad bringing home new books and stocking the home with stuff to read, it promotes the importance of reading in their eyes. Get down in the floor with your little and crack open some of your favorite comics and show them how the panels work. Show them your excitement for the characters and it’ll become contagious.
Our shop keeps lots of the most popular young reader titles in stock: everything from Dog Man to Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Smile. We also have tons of older comics that they can stock up on for a buck a piece.
What is the main take-away? Make books a priority for your littles. Make time to read with them, and for them to have solo reading time.
In short, read often and read a variety of material and make sure that it is fun and exciting. Your kids will thank you for it later on and you’ll help improve the future for them and our community.