Four ways I keep my son (and myself) excited about reading
STAR Readers Blog Series

Sarah Mullins, Sacramento Children's Home

It’s one of life’s simple pleasures – picking up a good book and getting lost in the plot, or snuggling on the couch with a little one reading the same Curious George book over and over again. I’ll admit it, we are huge book hoarders; the enormous book shelf in our office is jam packed, and the book case in my son’s room is overflowing. In my opinion, you can never have too many books.

But, it goes beyond having books and requires actually reading them.  What good is a book if it’s only collecting dust somewhere? How will my son and I be transported to a world where it’s completely acceptable for a small brown monkey to high-jack a dump truck and accidently fill a pond with dirt? Reading with my son is one of our favorite things to do together… especially on these kind of rainy days.

Here are some of the ways I’ve kept him (and me) interested in and excited about reading:

1. Read out loud, and ask a bunch of questions as you go along! And, don’t forget to let them ask you questions too!

2. Read books about things they love. This will of course change many times over the course of a year. Whether it’s books about adventures in a make-believe world, thrilling stories of suspense and excitement, or in my son’s case, anything involving dump trucks, fire trucks, “digger” trucks, fast trucks… you get the picture… reading books about things that interest them will keep them engaged much longer.

3. Have a lot of books around. I can’t tell you how many times a week we read Curious George and the Dump Truck right now, but last week it was Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, and a few weeks before that it was Harry the Dirty Dog.  Have a “library” available.

4. Change them up. The library is a great community resource. For one, it’s free to check out books. And, they have a TON of books to choose from!  Don’t have a library close by? Hold a “book swap” with friends.  I’ve also found garage sales are a great place to pick up “new” books for next to nothing!

You don’t have to be a parent to help a child learn to love reading. Grab your niece or nephew, the kid down the street, a friend’s child, or volunteer for a United Way STAR Readers partner organization. Spending a few minutes every week reading with a child not only helps them learn to read and expands their vocabulary, it shows them you are invested in their future. When I see statistics like 56% of fourth graders in our area do not read at grade level, I am truly saddened. It’s insane to me that there are children in our community that cannot live up to their potential simply because they cannot read proficiently. 

It takes a village to raise a child, and the success, or failure, of each should be all our responsibility. 

Now, go read a book!

Sarah Mullins works for the Sacramento Children’s Home, a STAR Readers partner organization, is mommy to an adventurous 2 ½ year old boy, and holdin’ it all together with the support of her wonderful husband!