Reading

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 My husband and I were never avid readers. 
How can I assure my children will be good readers and enjoy reading?

Reading, like other qualities and habits we wish to instill in the lives of our children is better "caught" than "taught".  And, like anything, the way we present it, making it either positive and practical or dull and drudgery will determine how they embrace it for their own lives.  We have implemented a family reading night to instill greater bonding as a family and stay together on our training as a couple.  If a night during the week is not workable in your family's schedule try a 30 minute block after your evening meal at least several nights a week.  If you can't do those consider your family's priorities and re-evaluating your schedule.  You may be "running" too much and that will work against family unity and therefore child training to have a peaceful home. 

We have found that reading a biography together allows us all to learn and even if the children balk at first, they will grow to enjoy the routine and find security in knowing Mom and Dad, or at least one of them will be there with leisurely, undivided attention.  It's a great activity for Dad to do with them as part of their home schooling, too.  In addition it provides an opportunity for them to ask questions and allows discussion about what is being read.  Mom can do mending or needlework as Dad reads, or if the children want to take short turns reading as well, it can be a relaxing time of sharing and learning together.  This is a wonderful alternative to hellevision, I mean, television, and breeds creativity and good listening skills for their future blessing and a great example for parenting their children someday as well.

We have enjoyed reading to the boys since they were babies and switch from a serious book such as Heavenly Man, about the persecution of a Chinese Christian man, to a James Herriot book about his humorous experiences with animals as a veterinarian in England.  When they were little we always read a Bible story before bed to go to sleep on the Word of God and bring peace to their spirit. 

We also try to train them in discretion on their reading and to choose books that build their spirit, model heroism and good character, and inspire them to future good and service to others.  They help choose from several we select or approve of, knowing our concern in training them is to build strength of character and good judgment that will make them productive citizens for society and bring honor to the Lord and therefore blessing to them.  Going to a book fair together or a curriculum fair and allowing them to pick out one or two books they would enjoy, (with your approval) can spark their interest in reading what they would relate to most. Incentives through book clubs or contests can also be motivating and habit forming for the discipline and pleasure of reading.

What goes in our eyes and ears is so important and those ingredients will determine the future product our lives reflect.  When our children understand this motive behind our choices for them and helping them choose, it makes them want to put good things in their minds and hearts or at least understand our desire for that for them.  

As we show reading is fun by the way we can discuss what is read, they will, too, and before you know it they will take off and soar, realizing there is so much to be learned from the avenue of reading.  It holds the key to so much wonderful information if we are selective in what we put before our eyes and allow into our hearts.

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