Is it just me, or do you feel like you're juggling multiple worlds lately? Family. Health. Nutrition. Social activities. Technology. Work. The list goes on and on...
I sometimes wish I could split myself in half in order to get more done, don't you? It's hard not to feel like that these days.
I've been blogging for a little over a year now, and I've had to sacrifice a lot of other things in order maintain a certain level of quality. While I love writing and blogging, I've had a lot less time to cook healthy meals, keep myself fit, and spend quality time with my family.
To excel at one thing, you very often have to fail at others. After all, if you're juggling so many balls, eventually at least one of them has to drop.
No one ever said you couldn't share the ball with someone else!
One of the balls that very often needs to be shared is the ball of literacy. After all, the theme for Share a Story Blog Literacy Tour is not It Takes a Village to Raise a Reader for nothing!
If you don't read very often with your child or teenager, due to time constraints, or a lack of interest on your part, here are some ways you can prevent yourself from dropping that ball:
- Ask a caregiver, a grandparent, your spouse, or even an older sibling to read with your child. Different people have different styles of reading aloud, and the more variety your child has, the more well-rounded a reader she will become. It may even become an experience that they come to treasure!
- Find a way for your preschooler to participate in story hours at the public library or book store. Children come to look forward to such an activity every week, and even if you can't attend, a friend or caregiver would probably be happy to take your child for you.
- Listen to music, sing, and dance together. Hey, singing is a strong component of literacy. You need not only words, but rhythm too...And reading music is a whole other aspect of literacy.
- Use art as a springboard. You and/or your child can draw, paint, or create just about anything and make up stories about it. It's a great way to pull in creative writing, too.
- Write poems together. There are so many different kinds, but you'll love the simplicity of the I am poem and the haiku.
- Consider sharing wordless books. They can spark all kinds of storytelling and creative writing for children of every age.
- Pull out those board games. It's a great way to spend a rainy day or a night with family and friends. They don't even have to be word games, as long as they get you thinking, discussing, and solving problems.
- Cookbooks count too! If you love to cook, why not take some time to seek out some really great recipes together, online, or through a variety of cookbooks or magazines? It's a great way to connect with your child on multiple levels.
- Use reading materials to spark dinner conversation. Whether you ask your child to tell you about a certain book, or to read aloud a short newspaper article, you may be surprised at where the conversation goes.
- Just listen to and enjoy being with your child. Find a way to set aside distractions for at least a few minutes every day.
- Ask your teenager about the YA books he's reading. It may spark a conversation that you otherwise might have missed out on completely. You may be pleasantly surprised by the quality of some of these books too!
- Carve out some time to take your child to the library or book store to find books to look at. You can seek out some books, magazines, or audio books for yourself too! You may even find that your child's enthusiasm for special books will rub off on you.
- Even if you don't read with your child, you should try to read something alongside her on a weekly basis. Whether it's the newspaper, a magazine, a book, or work materials, you're still modeling the importance and value of reading.
- Use the time spent waiting for appointments for reading with, or alongside, your child. Many offices have a wide variety of magazines to choose from - for adults and children.
- Establish a nightly, or even weekly, family read-aloud night. Pick a favorite book together, and take turns reading. If you pick one that's been made into a movie, you can watch it when you've finished the book and compare the two. There are so many real world connections that can be made with books.
- When you're on the go with your child, try to bring along a favorite children's book, magazine, or audio book. Book looking and listening counts, too!
- If you prefer to use advanced technology over books-in-print, you can find all kinds of resources at The Reading Tub Wiki. Please also note that if you have an iPhone or iPod Touch, there's a PicPocket Books giveaway contest going on now through Friday at 5 pm Pacific time.
- Ask your independent reader to read to you. Even if you're completely exhausted, you may find the shared reading experience to be a relaxing activity. Even a child who doesn't read yet would probably love to retell, or act out, a favorite story. It's a great way to make your child feel special too.
Please feel free to add to this list!
As you can see, there's a lot more to literacy than the simple act of reading. When you share the type of literacy you have a love for, your enthusiasm will ignite the fire of learning in your child.
So, it's not a question of winning or losing, succeeding or failing. It's a matter of finding what works best for you, and how you can connect with your child in a way that means the most to you.
As long as you're finding small ways to communicate with your child in a variety of ways, showing an interest in the kinds of books she or he likes to read, and sharing the ball whenever possible, you're doing all that you can to promote literacy in your home.
We all are trying to balance so many responsibilities these days. I don't read with my children nearly as much as I used to, now that they prefer to read on their own. We don't always have time to do so.
I must add, though, that reading together is one of the activities that I will always treasure the most as a parent. Children's books still make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. There's something magical about them that will always bring a smile to my face.
You may not feel the same way, and that's okay. I do hope that you'll give the experience a chance, though. You never know - it could even help unleash the reader within you!
In a world which seems to be moving a lot faster than we are, it can often seem like we're being chased by a very large boulder - like Harrison Ford was in Raiders of the Lost Ark. We have to do some fast running and quick thinking to avoid being crushed.
Well, I'd take juggling over that scenario any day. At least that way, I have a certain level of control over the outcome.
Sometimes, it's not the dropping of the ball we have to worry about. The hard part is putting it away and taking time out to enjoy life.
© iStockphoto/Anatoliy Samara
Life. Love. Literacy. What could matter more?
Welcome to Day 5 of the Share a Story - Shape a Future Literacy Blog Tour! It's being hosted at Jen Robinson's Book Page today. The theme is Reading for the Next Generation. I hope you'll check it out!