"As a child reads, so a child becomes".

In  Lit!, Tony Reinke helps us to understand how to read, what to read, and why to read. At no point is this more important than in childhood, and as he indicates in his quote, the books a child reads (or doesn't read) will fundamentally impact the trajectory of the child's life.

With that in view, he devotes one chapter in his book to 'Raising Readers'. He includes a number of practical tips that will help parents ignite in their children a desire to read. In essence, the goal is "to make books prominent and reading delightful".

Here we list some of his suggestions. You should read the whole book to flesh out the details:

1. Fill your home with books. Always there in overflowing quantities; always to hand. Visible, prominent.

2. Read to your kids. Pause and reflect as you go, to help them learn how to make exciting discoveries in their reading.

3. Don't stop reading to your kids. Even teenagers benefit from hearing books read aloud.

4. Read your books in front of your kids. Children will value what they see their parents valuing. It's no good telling them that reading is important if they see that you never do it yourself!

5. Push entertainment into the background. For boys in particular. Reinke quotes Thomas Spence who writes, (in 'How to raise boys who read'):
"The secret to raising boys who read, I submit, is pretty simple - keep electronic media, especially video games and recreational internet, under control (that is to say, almost completely absent). Then fill your shelves with good books."

6. Listen to audio books in the car. For any road trip, borrow CD's from the library and download audio books online.

7. Help interpret worldview as you read to your children. Whatever book you are reading, engage with it with a Christian worldview; pause to help the child interpret the realities the book is bringing to his imagination in light of Scripture.

8. Invite your children to read to the family. When they find a passage they like, encourage them to bring it to the dinner table and explain what caught their attention. And when they read something they disagree with, it's good to get them to share those thoughts too, for they need to learn to be critical readers.


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