Many of us take pride in displaying our books as they are a testimony to our commitment to lifelong learning. Those books also provide an invitation for visitors to borrow them, a delightful, cost-free sharing of hard and paper-bound riches. Sadly, many people’s books mostly just sit on a shelf, serving as pretty decor, but as a family and community resource left to slowly decay.
Books in the home naturally provide the potential for creating and sustaining a culture of literacy, reading, and learning when they’re shared within and beyond the home. The generous sharings of books with a circle of family and neighbors foreground the power of reading.
Children should be included in the sharing activities, as well. Why? Because children grow from reading, enjoying, and sharing their self-selected books, which can support them and their friends in becoming:
Joyful, daily readers and learners…for life.
We adults must never forget that this is THE central goal of a good education.
Even children in homes with no books of their own can flourish as readers IF they have to access a school or public library to serve as a constant resource of what the kids deem as terrific books. That will, in turn, encourage a lifelong FLOW of books into and through their lives, and then on to others. The eager identification of captivating book choices can provide a child with a steady diet of reading options. Fully literate children in a book sharing family or community will learn to comfortably anticipate that the supply of personally fulfilling reading is just about infinite.
Of course, the number of books in the home is a critical variable in promoting children’s reading achievements and their growth into lifelong learners. However, the value of having many books around the house doesn’t amount to much if they aren’t eagerly read and then animatedly discussed with others (e.g., pals, siblings AND parents), ensuring time for celebrating new discoveries, addressing confusions or sprouting subsequent inquiries.
Another critical piece in the lifelong learning puzzle is including children in the book selection process. Regular visits to libraries to check out books or a trip to a bookstore to purchase books must include children so that they learn HOW avid readers select books.
Reading success is not found in the simple ability to read words and write correctly when demanded by others. Literacy must come from nurturing and establishing patterns of daily enjoyment with children experiencing a steady flow of personally engaging books, inviting new insights into their worlds and all their dreams as they grow steadily into an adulthood where they then write their own stories.