There is no set time, date, schedule or plan for when children will catch the reading bug. It is actually one of those yet-to-be solved mysteries. You just never know when or where the reading bug might bite, but if you have taught your children to have an interest in and a love for books, the spark for reading; it will always come, and often when least expected.
I remember exactly when it happened for our daughter. It was one day years ago when meeting my sister and nephew at a local coffee shop for a visit. My nephew who was eight at the time and my daughter, a year-and-a-half older, requested to sit at their own table to read while my sister and I chatted.
The coffee shop was relatively empty so the two cousins found their own special spot easily – one that was of course as far away from parental supervision as possible – and each proceeded to pull out their books. My nephew had this quite large, thick red and purple book, with no cover, and he was glued to it. I kept glancing his way, wondering what in the world could that book could be in which he was so entranced. Finally, I couldn’t stand it any longer so I asked my sister. She said, “Oh that’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, a book about a magical wizard. He can’t put it down.”
It was so intriguing that he would love a book of that size and length at such an early age and the fact that “he couldn’t put it down”. So as soon as we left the coffee shop my daughter and I immediately headed to Barnes and Noble to get a copy and see what this Harry Potter book was all about. Needless to say, she was hooked from the very first page. My daughter and my nephew had always enjoyed books and reading, but Harry Potter, it gave them that spark, that passion for reading and there was no turning back.
They both became incessant readers, not only of Harry Potter books, but of almost any other book that came their way. But Harry Potter was – for them – the springboard that gave reading life. In fact, my daughter wrote her college entrance essay using Harry Potter, and you wouldn’t – to this day – want to play Harry Potter Trivia with either one of them, unless of course they were on your team.
Even today the two of them are avid readers of a wide range of books and genres as well as all kinds of magazines and newspapers. And they each have stacks of books in their homes that live and travel with them wherever they go.
But if you are concerned that your child hasn’t been bitten by the reading bug yet, no worries. There is no predictable moment for that to happen. But be assured, it will happen in its own time, if when they are young you will
- Make it your mission to read to them daily
- Constantly introduce them to new books for them to see and experience
- Encourage them to choose their favorite books to read, and then read again
- Spark their imagination by talking about their favorite stories
- Pay attention to what inspires them and piques their interest, and find books to match
As your child grows up keep in mind reading – like Harry Potter – is magic; it will inspire your kids and take them wherever they want to go in the world anytime day or night. And Harry Potter author J.K Rowling agrees as she believes…
“Something very magical can happen when you read a good book. And if you don’t like to read, you haven’t found the right book.”
– J.K. Rowling