"How To...Reading"

This is the first in a series of posts entitled "How to..." Each post will list a characteristic or activity that Rachael and I value and hope our children will as well.

Books are like GOLD to me. I love books! Just ask my wife. She would say I'm OCD about books. They are grouped according to subject and size. Each book is personally embossed with the seal "FROM THE LIBRARY OF JONATHAN D. OREN." Rachael had the embosser made for me (perfect gift!). I handle the books carefully depending on their kind as well. For instance, a book that will be regularly used as a reference tool, I use with gentleness so it can stand the long haul. These books are generally biblical studies books. Other books that are read and referenced occasionally are treated with less OCD-ness. My goal is to have a research library of 10,000 solid volumes. Currently, I have <500>
Rachael values reading as well. She's always finding great parent and adoption resources. She reads them and passes them along. We value reading for many reasons. It expands our horizons. We encounter new ideas and the people who promote them. We rub shoulders with differing opinions. We gain an ability to see different viewpoints.

It is our desire that our children value reading too! How does that happen?! As a child, I hated reading. Absolutely hated it! Why did some kids love it and others hated it? We've already purchased Mekonen some books for his kid library. Not just baby books. He has a hardback that is probably close to 300 pages. It's kid friendly though! We want him to see us reading and assume it's a natural part of life. Hopefully he embraces reading.

What would/do you do as a parent to instill the value of reading? Thoughts?


Big Daddy Owl said...

Hey Jon.

Well the first thing that comes to mind is to limit the amount of TV and internet as well as other media. There are so many things competing for our children's time and attention these days.

Second, start reading to your child as early and as often as possible. Make it a family event every night. There are so many good devotionals out there for all different age groups that you should have no trouble finding something to keep his interest.

Lastly, try to find something that interests them. As you may know, Caroline is obsessive about her reading. She can't do anything without a book in her hand. Abby, however isn't so fond of it. We discovered that she likes Calvin and Hobbs and the Peanuts cartoons. So, we started buying her those books. It has helped a little. Katherine is just learning now so we encourage her whenever we can. She does not go to bed without a bedtime story and looks forward to it every night.

The biggest thing I am working on now is trying to encourage a love for God's Word in the girls. We have started reading though a children's bible almost every night. I am also encouraging Caroline to start reading through her own bible. We are still working on that.

Hope it helps. We are so happy for all three of you! It is awesome how 3 lives are about to be changed through what you and Rachael are doing!

Kaleb said...

I was homeschooled and I read QUITE a bit growing up. I don't read very much nowadays and I hate that. The biggest problem for me is time - taking time to read. I'm a slow reader, and I like to think while I read... I hang on every word.

Anyway, it would have been extremely helpful if someone in my younger years had taught me the value of selective reading and skimming. Not everything is valuable and important just because someone placed it in print form, right? And some thoughts are more poignant then others.

I am convinced that we are in desperate need of discernment and filtration skills in this age of information overload. If you have any good ideas or resources on this end, please let me know.

- KC

Allison said...

had a natural bent towards verbal/literary learning so I was going to love reading no matter what. Finding books that are interesting for someone is important too. And when you're excited about reading, that shows to the people around you.

I didn't know you guys were adopting! Very awesome!

mrs. owl said...

I would say the most important thing is to find what interests the child. I also believe if a child does not love reading, then the parent should carve out time to read with the child. Children love one on one time and reading with the child creates a bond of "special time". Just my thoughts.

the rasbachs said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
the rasbachs said...

this is a good question. i like the idea of limiting TV and internet--i think that is huge. Also, my husband, Dan didn't really like reading by himself as a child, but his father read to him and his brother almost everynight--which he enjoyed. they went through the Naria series, hardy boys, and even stuff like Philip Yancy's books. i think this is a great idea, especially for kids who don't have a natural desire for reading by themselves. And I think now, Dan's vocabulary is amazing because of that.

Anonymous said...

Make sure you have books they can just play with so they just assume books are part of everyday life. You know I always say that I don't like to read, but that is probably because I read for a living, but our girls love to be read to and we love to read to them. As long as it is something that interests them, they are captivated (Natalie more than Jane for the obvious reason of age.

Rachel said...

Hey Orens! I came across your blog address on Jon's facebook awhile ago. I am really excited about your adoption, and I keep coming back for updates.

This post made me think of a conversation that happened on a mission trip to Kosovo. Jon, you were talking about your future family, and you said that after dinner everyone would take turns standing on their chair and announcing what they had learned that day. I think that would encourage a love for reading. :)

doddyj said...

the library. my mom always took me and made it sound like the most exciting event ever!
I go to yard sales now and pick up tons of books for my daughter for about 25-50 cents a piece (totally worth it), and she has a 2 shelf bookcase full of them, at 1 year old. I will catch her flipping through them at times.
I've also heard that if they watch you reading, it will spur them on as well.

crt said...

hey, fantastic post/question. we started reading to the girls as soon as they got home from the hospital, and still read to them for an hour or more before bed every night. each girl listens to books on cd as they drift off to sleep. (warning -this may cause children to stay awake half the night listening to a good book. :-) we rarely change our vocabulary, but simply define words that we use that they don't understand. we did this when they were babies and continue to do this now. we read books to them that are above grade level further enriching their vocabulary and their love for a good plot/characters/words etc... (another warning - this may cause children avoid reading grade level books. after all "see jane run" isn't nearly as interesting as a trip to the wood between the worlds with diggery and polly.)
btw, your post reminded me of mortimer in inkheart (our current literary adventure.)

Leanne said...

We read to Rex on a nightly basis (or at least try, some Wednesday's it doesn't happen!). It was with great joy that I found him in his room one day with a lot of his books off the shelf and he was quietly just turning the pages. He still does it today. He sees me read a lot, and like I said, we read with him and he loves it!