by Cheryl Jackson Thursday October 1, 2009

It's hard to remember exactly how I learned to read.  It happened so long ago, and I was so young. I think it started in Grade One, because I don't remember being "taught" to read in Kindergarten.  My Kindergarten teacher, who I loved, read stories to us, and we had these wonderful felt boards to create our own stories but that was it.  It was in Grade One when I started to put it all together, to learn that certain letters and words had meaning when strung together. With big fat red pencils, I printed short sight words beside pictures and read Dick and Jane. By the time I was in Grade Three I was reading entire children's novels in a day.

Something made me love reading, but I'm not convinced it was school. I think it was my parents.

We always had lots of kid's books in our house, and my Mom read to us. But more importantly, my parents read their own books - all the time. For my mom, it was after dinner.  While other mothers might have jumped up from the dinner table to start the dishes, my Mom would light a cigarette and crack open her book. The clean up would wait, or my brothers and I did it. My dad was an especially voracious reader - still is. He read westerns and science fiction, and would regularly go to the used book store and bring home a box of books, which he would read and return a couple of weeks later for a new box of books.  And every weekend he would take my brothers and me to the big public library downtown. He would go upstairs to the "adult" section and my brothers and I would go downstairs to the "kids" section. I'm pretty sure we just ran around when we were very young, but as the years went by, we settled and eventually started doing our homework there.  And we always came home with books.

So watch our show "How Do Kids Learn to Read", and then go make a cup of tea, open your novel, and read. And make sure your kids see you doing it. It may be the best thing you can do to get your kids reading.