Whether you go by "Grandma," "Grammy," "Nana," "Nini," "Grandpa," "Papa,"or "Gramps," you are likely a very important person in the life of a special child (or children!). Grandchildren adore their grandparents, eagerly awaiting their visits, clinging to them when they are around, and shedding a tear at their departure. And, more often than not, they can easily be swayed towards doing something in a way only a grandparent can bring about. Why not harness the unique position of being a grandparent in an effort to encourage enjoyment in reading?
7 Ways Grandparents Can Help Build Lifelong Readers:
Share your favorite titles from when you were little, or from when your child (their parents) was younger. Do you have an old, much loved copy of a favorite story, or perhaps a classic title not easily found at the local bookstore? Share it with you grandchild in a special read aloud. They will delight in the connection to the past.
Armed with an inexpensive tape recorder you can make your own audio book recordings. Children will love hearing the stories narrated by loved ones as they run errands around town or enjoy quiet time in their rooms. You can even make a recording of the two of you reading the book together. After all, what child doesn't love to hear their own voice! Alternately, there are an increasing number of recordable books that allow you to record your voice directly onto the book itself. Hallmark
has a number of great options worth checking out.
Read a book simultaneously with your grandchild. Did you love the "Secret Garden" growing up? Give your grandchild a copy and enjoy rereading it yourself. Remember to check in frequently with your thoughts, questions and insights. You may be surprised by what your grandchild has to say!
Take an interest in their reading in general. Ask what they are reading and what they are looking forward to reading. What is it about those books and characters that they like or dislike? Let them make recommendations for your reading list. Share your favorite children's titles, but also tell them about what you are reading on your own. Most importantly, let them see you reading and enjoying books.
If you are lucky enough to live near your grandchildren, plan regular trips to the library or book store. Take advantage of the lap sits, read alouds and other events offered, or go just to browse and enjoy the comforts of the air conditioning.
Give the gift of books. Literally! Books are perfect for gift giving. There is a story to compliment every age, reading level, interest or occasion; and they are easy to share, wrap and ship. Books are perfect for birthdays, holidays, special occasions (first day of school or arrival of a baby sibling), or just to say "we're thinking of you." A wrapped book received as a gift, either in the mail or in person, is a great way to build excitement with reading.
Include an inscription, in the form of a personalized note or bookplate, in the front of each book you gift. Every time your grandchildren reads that story they will be reminded of you and of your connection to the tale.
Take advantage of the special relationship between grandparent and grandchild, and help play a pivotal role in the raising of life long readers. It is a role unique to grandparents, that can be filled by no other. And, if all else fails, sweeten the deal with some of your famous fresh baked cookies!