I have been an avid reader since I was a young girl. Reading is one of my favorite past times. I believe one of the reasons I did well in school was because I read so much. When we adopted our son Jacob at two years old, I set out to turn him into a lover of books. We started by reading him board books for 10-15 minutes before nap time and bedtime. Then we progressed to picture books with more words once his attention span had grown and increased story time to 15-20 minutes twice a day. I bought a book called Honey for a Child's Heart by Gladys Hunt as well as The Read Aloud Handbook and made lists of good books to look for at the library. I eventually discovered that our library had an on-line interlibrary loan program where I could sit at my computer at home and order books from all over our state and they would be delivered to our town library. This was like telling a kid in a candy store that she could have as much candy as she wanted. I started ordering up to 15 children's books at a time for Jacob. When I ran out of great book recommendations from Honey for a Child's Heart and The Read Aloud Handbook, I started looking for books on Amazon.com and reading book reviews trying to find the best books available. I created an Amazon.com wish list which grew and grew and I would use that as a reference when I ordered books via interlibrary loan. Jacob in the mean time was loving all these books and I enjoyed getting to read them almost as much as he did. He was learning so much from the books I had chosen and his father and I were learning lots of new things as well.
When Jacob was four years old, we started reading him short chapter books. The first book we read him was The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden. We allowed Jacob to play with toys quietly on the floor while we read him a chapter or two out of this book at a time. The second chapter book we read him was Three Tales of My Father's Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett. This book was a huge hit and it is the book I would recommend for boys as a first chapter book to read out loud. I have heard from friends that girls also really enjoy this book. At some point during this time we picked up The Magic Tree House audiobooks by Mary Pope Osborne. Well that was the beginning of The Magic Tree House addiction. Jacob wanted to listen to these audiobooks over and over again until he had them practically memorized. He still enjoys listening to "The Magic Tree House" books two years later and has listened to a countless number of additional audiobooks, chapter books read by us, and picture books. One of his favorite activities now at age six and a half is to play with his playmobil, legos, or knex while listening to an audiobook in his bedroom. We have successfully created a book addict and Jacob is progressing well with learning how to read on his own and likes to read simple stories to his sister.
We are now working on turning Rosa into a book addict as well using the method described above. She loves story time and the kids like to argue over who gets to pick which book we read first. My parents read stories to me as a child and my mother read us chapter books, usually on long car trips. I have very pleasant memories of being read to and I enjoy creating these memories for my own children as well.
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