This was originally posted by the Marion & Polk Early Learning Hub here.

My son has been impressing us so much with his reading ability lately.  He has always loved reading and enjoys chapter books, books about his favorite toys (Pokemon and Bakugan right now) and nonfiction and science books including a devotion that has all sorts of amazing scientific facts throughout.  He is reading big words in books that I didn’t know he even knew and reading signs all over the place when we travel in the car or go to stores.

It’s so fun to watch him confidently read and pronounce words knowing that it was just under a year ago when he was still just beginning to recognize words here and there.  From the day my son was born (and even before!) reading is something we focused on a lot.  We know that if we failed in other places, which I’m sure we have, we have clearly succeeded in raising a child who loves books and reading.  It is beautiful to see the world open up to him in this way and so fun to hear him now reading books to us and to his sister.

One of the main ways that we encouraged this is just by simply reading to him every day and making sure that we always had lots and lots of different books around.  A couple of organizations I work with and for: SMART Reading and READY! For Kindergarten highly encourage the simple act of reading 20 minutes a day as the most effective way to develop a passion and enjoyment for reading and books.  In this increasingly virtual and screen-filled world the joy of turning the pages of a physical book and hearing your child squeal with laughter or surprise as they find out what happens to Pete the Cat on the next page is still unmatched in its ability to inspire our children to become lifelong readers.If you are interested in more information and tips regarding encouraging your little one to love reading please make sure to check out the READY! For Kindergarten offerings in your area (listed here) and the SMART Reading families page (here).  My best advice: just take some amount of time to cuddle up and enjoy reading with your child every day and try to have a wide variety of different books around so that your child has lots of different options to choose from.  Happy reading!

This is fatherhood…