How I Raised Three Kids to be Readers

Photo by Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash

I flat out manipulated my three kids into reading.

It started when the television broke and I couldn't find the money to get it fixed —that was back in the day when we fixed things. It was pure d hell the first week.

My three kids, boy and girl twins at 7 years old, and their younger brother at 5, and I cowered in our respective bedrooms as we let go of our addiction to television. I was so grateful I had to leave the house to go to work.

It was awful!

About two weeks passed and when I came home everything in the house felt different. I heard boisterous kid laughter out on the patio. They had gotten bored, found a bunch of appliance boxes and, after enrolling some neighbor kids, created a whole circus! Never underestimate the creativity hidden in boredom.

It was grand.

That night we actually sat down to dinner and had a conversation.

When the kids went to bed there was the usual fuss. Three or four times I stalked back to the bedrooms and insisted they quit playing, talking, wandering around and what have you — our usual bedtime routine, except…

On the fourth round I realized the boys were both hiding under the covers with flashlights… reading! Their sister had fallen asleep. Recognizing I had quiet in the house I tiptoed out of little guys’ room without busting them.

It didn't take me too many more nights to figure out that if I pretended not to notice when they were reading, but insisted every other activity cease I might be accomplishing two things — quiet quicker in the evening, which I truly wanted, and help them establish a reading habit.

It worked.

In fact it worked well, almost so well I’m kinda embarrassed to admit how simple it all was. Even today as middle aged adults a book is often the first thing my kids grab.

Love, blessings and abundance.

Writer, life and writing coach, book ghostwriter, Grandmother, Buddhist. Liberal who listens to the other side, political

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