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Author Bio: Kathryn Lagden leads the digital strategy at www.schoolfamilymedial.com. She blogs at www.homeroommom.com where she shares recipes, crafts, and tips for homeroom moms and dads. She keeps active with her two young boys, Kyle (5) and Cameron (2).
My 5 year old son loves reading. An avid bookworm myself, I love exploring new stories with him and remembering some of my old favorites. Now that he’s in kindergarten he has a home reading program. Every night we cuddle up on the couch, he reads his book to me and then I read to him. It’s become our quiet time together and although it’s hard sometimes I force myself to just stop, relax, and enjoy our special time together.
Over the years I’ve tried lots of things to keep the time “special” and foster his love of reading. These are the 5 ideas that have worked the best for us.
1. Personalize it! Our favorite book for ages was “Hop on Pop” by Dr. Suess. Our version is a large board book that was perfect when he was a toddler. We received it as a gift on his first birthday, my Mother-in-law had put an 8 X 10 photo of my son literally “hopping on his pop” at a picnic event. He giggled every time he opened the cover.
2. Go Beyond the Book. We often read a book and continue the theme in our crafts and activities. One of our current favorites is “Ricky Ricotta’s Might Robot”. That has led to creating a pretty fantastic robot costume and most recently a “secret cave” that looks a lot like what my sister and I would have called a “sheet fort” in our day.
3. Create a Special Spot. Like most kids my son likes routine. We sit in the same place every night, use the same cushions, and snuggle up the same way. It’s cozy, comfortable, and predictable.
4. Be Open to New Formats. I’m old school. I like books and paragraphs and a steady stream of words on the same line. I’ve learned to appreciate graphic novels and Home Depot manuals. (And I’ve picked up a few useful tips along the way!)
5. Slow Down. This one is hard for me. Like most parents every night is full of tasks that must get done. The sooner I can clear the sink of dishes, make lunches, and finish the myriad of other household tasks that accumulate each day the calmer I feel. I have to force myself to leave the mess (it ain’t going anywhere!) and just deal with it later. I never regret that choice once I’m cuddled up with my boy.