Last night, my 9 year old daughter was chatting with us about the books she just finished reading and how she enjoyed it. I was suitably impressed when she said she finished Jane Eyre and Sherlock Holmes. She even managed to tell me a bit of the story which got me interested. Not bad for a girl raised on a diet of Dennis the Menace and Minnie the Minx.
So, how do you encourage young children to read classics? I don’t know. In fact, I never made an effort, mainly because I personally find classic books boring and probably because I’m just uncultured, I can’t even spell some of the titles. (Give me Mills and Boon anytime. I would even read stacks of leaflets but I steer clear from classics.) But I may know a thing or two about getting kids interested in reading.
My husband and I love reading. We read all the time. We read before we go to bed every day. And of course, reading to our kids every night before they go to bed is also a family ritual. Even now that my daughter can read, we still have to read to her before she goes to bed. We also used books to help potty train our kids. When they won’t sit on the potty long enough to do their business, we used to give them books to flick through while sitting on the potty. However, it has some draw backs. Now, it takes them a long time to leave the toilet because they’re reading.
We never planned any structure to help our kids to love books; we just simply showed them how enjoyable it is to read. So, if you want your children to love reading then, I guess, you just have to make sure you love it too.