By Laura Raphael, Children's Services Coordinator
There are certain "no duh" behaviors and attitudes most parents want to see in their children. Putting dirty clothes in the hamper. Eating vegetables without complaint. Being kind to animals and the elderly.
Research shows that people who read tend to volunteer more, vote more frequently, have more empathy toward others, and not develop dementia as they grow older. (No research yet on being better looking or having abs of steel, but one can hope.) But reading is also an inherently pleasurable activity that enriches lives.
No wonder we want our kids to read!
In "Raising Kids Who Read", cognitive scientist and educational psychologist Daniel Willingham explores how parents and educators can support kids in their reading growth - but also their reading identity. He posits that kids who read regularly view themselves as readers, and it's this psychological meaning that matters. The more kids read - and the more pleasure they get from reading - the more the image they have of themselves as someone who reads is strengthened.
Willingham divides the book into developmental stages, so you can skip straight to your child's age. However, the book is highly readable and worth your time reading front to back. In each stage, he discusses three major areas of reading - decoding, comprehension, and motivation - and simple things parents can do to support all three.
Here's an easy one related to the library: for children who are learning to read and need a boost in both decoding and motivation, consider the PAWS for Reading program, which matches child readers with therapy dogs. Kids spend 10 minutes reading to the dog (the perfect amount of time if they are still working on decoding letters into words and words into meaning), and get a free book from the Tulsa Library Trust as a reward! Check the monthly event guide at any library for times and locations or search the online event guide here.