Help kids learn to love reading

Maya Angelou, writer, poet, and inspiration was born April 4, 1928 and died May 28, 2014. This thought is one of her best, “I always knew from that moment, from the time I found myself at home in that little segregated library in the South, all the way up until I walked up the steps of the New York City library, I always felt, in any town, if I can get to a library, I’ll be OK. It really helped me as a child, and that never left me.” Books and libraries nourish children when they are sad, lonely, and hungry for information.

On the Reading Path

How do we get children on this path? We can read to children daily.Cuddle up together to associate comfort with reading.Make a fort with blankets and chairs, climb in with a few snacks, a flashlight, and read. Read before naps and bedtime or after a scrape. Give children an LED flashlight to help read under the bed covers. Read together when children are out of sorts. Show children that you find comfort, knowledge, joy, and refreshment while reading a variety of materials.

Take children to the library at least once a week. Libraries have a wealth of materials and programs. Check out a wagon full of books.

In Toni Morrison’s new children’s book, “Please, Louise” she writes about a little girl who could be Maya Angelou.

A little child looks out the window on a sad colorless day. The child dresses up in yellow rain gear and heads out somewhere with a little red wagon and a determined look. She hurries past a man sitting on a curb, passes a frightening dog, an old rundown house, and an empty yard full of junk. A black crow cowers overhead.

Imagination

Finally, the child reaches a destination. It’s a colorful room filled with sunshine and books, thousands and thousands of books. Filled with awe while exploring and choosing books, she settles to read on the floor.

The next few pages show her imagination. Pages are filled with rainbows and pictures of adventures.

When she leaves, her wagon and arms are filled with books. Her world is not so scary. The dog is brown now and friendly. Her neighborhood is not as frightening, and the sun is shining while she reads to a dog on her porch.

Idealistic, perhaps, but it is not if you have seen a child’s face who has discovered reading and has a nose in a book.

For more information to help children become readers see grandparentsteachtoo.org and listen to pod casts at wnmufm.org “Learning Through the Seasons” and live broadcasts Tuesdays 4:30 p.m. and Saturdays 8:35 a.m. EST.

Editor’s note: Grandparents Teach ,Too is a non profit organization of elementary and preschool teachers from Marquette, Michigan. Writers include: Jan Sabin, Mary Davis, Jean Hetrick, Cheryl Anderegg, Esther Macalady, Colleen Walker, Fran Darling, and Iris Katers.Their mission since 2009 is to help parents, grandparents, and other caregivers of young children provide fun activities to help prepare young children for school and a life long love of learning. They are supported by Great Start, Parent Awareness of Michigan (PAM), Upper Peninsula Association for the Education of Young Children (UPAEYC), Northern Michigan School of Education, U.P. Children’s Museum and NMU Center for Economic Education.