By Jill Gonzalez
I remember wonderful hours spent under a makeshift tent of blankets and our picnic table under the shade of a beautiful oak tree reading the books I had found at the library. That tent was a magical place, only to be ventured out of for Kool-Aid, or maybe a Popsicle if it got really hot. I was not a sun worshipper, no, the opposite really. As long as I had a book, I was happy in the shade.
My parents and older sister read to me from as early as I can remember and I took over reading to my younger sister as early as I possibly could. I couldn’t wait! I thought it was the most exciting think in the world to be able to read to someone!
I have been excited to learn and share with colleagues around the state this summer at the Texas School Ready Conference, AAEYC and TAEYC conferences and the Scholastic Reading Summit and I have seen a similar thread running through all the sessions – it is PARENTS that are the key to helping develop the love of reading in a child. Now, this at face value may seem like common sense. We take parents for granted though and we shouldn’t.
Parenting is a learned skill. It is not enough to look at a parent and say “You should read to your child.” That’s a very nice sentiment – but if you’ve never been read to yourself, how might you begin to try something like that?
Remember the old parable about teaching a man to fish? It’s not enough to give a book to a family. It’s a start, but it’s not the end. One of our new projects here at BookSpring is to train teachers, parent support specialists and others in how to conduct a “Parent Book Club.” We have held these clubs through BookSpring for years and they have been highly successful.
Parent Book Clubs include six lesson that help parents understand how and why to share books with their young children. They include lessons on using the library, wiggly toddlers, repeated reading, asking and answering questions and much more. We hope to help bring the love of books to families around Central Texas and beyond. Join us!