Time has a way of passing quickly. This may not be as true as when you look at the day-to-day passage of time, but rather, looking at time as a collective whole. You know how it is … you are busy in life, working, meeting deadlines, paying bills, raising a Family. All of a sudden, you pause, look up, and realize you are about to enter the next stage of life. The stage we call “the empty nest” syndrome
Now, we are not yet true “empty nesters.” Our daughters are seniors in high school this year so technically they are still home with us. But even this year is different. Now the talk around the dinner table is about SAT and ACT scores, college application deadlines, applying for scholarships, discussing the possibility of Air Force ROTC in college …
I don’t profess to be an expert on parenting, raising children and all that jazz; but there is something that I feel is extremely important. I feel that in this day and age of technology, something is missing. And that something is reading with, or to, our children. The TV and the internet and the tablet craze have pretty much roped children in. Now, don’t get me wrong, everything is fine in moderation.
However, they need books in their lives. They need to be read to at a young age. Then, as they get older, they can read with you. As they move up in years, they can read to you or they can read alone. The adventures, the mysteries, the connections they make as they read books can open their mind to the world. The exposure to vocabulary and differences of opinion in the books they choose to read prepares them for life, both as students and as individuals.
It is so important to allow children their choice of reading material within reason, of course. Some reading material is just not appropriate for children. Think about taking your child to the toy aisle or to their favorite toy store when you have told them they can pick out a toy. Think about the excitement they have as they walk up and down the aisles, looking for that one toy they just have to have.
The library, or a bookstore, for a child can be the same. The variety and the choices in books that the child has is tremendous. There are books about animals, space, race cars, ballerinas, adventures, mysteries — just about anything a child might be interested in. And, just like the toy at the toy store, they can pick out the books they want to read.
Choice is the single, most important factor to remember when a child is choosing a book. Think about when you are told you must read. Would you rather read something you’re interested in or something you are mandated to read? I don’t know about you, but I like to read what I want.
Reading is about the most inexpensive, but most beneficial, activity your child can choose to do. Your local library will be more than happy to sign you up for a library card if you don’t already have one. It’s free! All you need to do is provide identification and proof that you live in the county if you are at a public library in Cumberland County. There is also a library at Fort Bragg and all you need is a military or Department of Defense ID card for identification to get a library card.
Additionally, there are online options in the event that you can’t get to the library, or for those parents who have children who just won’t put the technology down long enough to read a book. Here are some online websites that are free and offer children reading options:
www.uniteforliteracy.com. This website resembles a library bookshelf where a child can choose from many book titles. The child can read alone or have the text narrated. These books can even be translated into different languages. This website is mainly for younger children.
www.storylineonline.net/about-us. This website also resembles a library shelf but the books are listed alphabetically and are read by an actor or actress. The words are shown below the picture as the text is read aloud. Some of the books even have sign language along with the reading.
www.justbooksreadaloud.com. This website also has many options to choose from when a child wants to read a book. The book can be searched by author, category, or reading level. There are many book titles to choose from.
The most important thing to do is to get your child reading. Show them how important it is to read. Help them find something that they are interested in and get them involved in reading. It’s a lifelong skill that can be a wonderful hobby if it is nurtured. Happy reading!