Books That Foster A Love For Learning   


By Karen S. King  

Homeschool Products from Nest Learning

How do you develop a love for learning in your children, no matter what their age? Looking for a way to spark their creativity and eagerness to read and explore the world around them? How do you grab their attention from the earliest age and keep them motivated through all their school years? Here are a few tips from a mother of four kids, ages 2-20.

First, introduce them to books and music as a baby in the womb. Read and talk to them while they are still inside of you. Put them to bed each night with classical music, nature sounds, or soothing, world music. From babyhood on, always provide age appropriate reading material. For the youngest babies, try books with faces and illustrations in black and white. Hold them close as you read to them, pointing out things as you go. Let them begin to associate reading with warm and cozy feelings.

As they grow, add books with textures that stimulate their senses. Add board books with simple text and illustrations that they can hold themselves as they get bigger. Pick familiar topics like bath time or meal time or books about family. If you live in the city or the country, choose simple books that reflect everyday life around you. Begin to help your baby to connect what the story is saying to what is happening around them. Around age one or eighteen months, make a "book nook" for your toddler. Layer an old soft blanket preferably in a corner surrounded with their favorite stuffed animals and some sturdy books. Lead them to the area at first and sit with them enjoying some great books and snuggle time. You will see that soon they will start going to their special place on their own.

You will watch as they begin to pick up the books on their own and start to "read." As they approach their second birthday, you can start adding simple learning titles to their routine. ABC, color and counting books are good at this age. Also by age two, they will probably have developed some interests of their own like animals, trucks or bugs. If so, try to expand on their natural interests. The more you can repeat topics, the more learning takes place. For instance, if they like bugs and you read about bugs, try adding a trip outdoors with a magnifying glass and an art project coloring bug pictures.

As they reach the preschool years, you can continue to focus on titles and topics that they choose and expand activities to help reinforce those ideas. Art projects are great for helping children to experience learning in a different way. Fostering their creativity with art contributes to the development of their right brain and gives them a chance to use their small motor skills as well as showing them new perspectives on familiar topics. Also through the preschool years, you can add sticker books, wipe-off materials, and puzzles. Simple games like matching and sorting help develop early math skills and let kids see how learning is fun and exciting. All through the early years, visit your local story time at the library where they can get used to the social aspect of learning. Take everyday moments, like shopping or cooking meals to introduce and practice basic math, reading and verbal skills.

As your children reach school age, you will probably begin to their individual styles of learning. Some will get more from reading a book, another will learn more through listening to learning CD, and another will do better building a project. Recognize and encourage your child's strengths and differences. Tie their interests into family trips, movies, and projects around the house with different reading material. Give magazine subscriptions on their favorite subjects for gifts. Let them decorate them room according to their favorite themes and incorporate learning with pricing materials, practical skills, matching items, and organizing belongings.

Most importantly, combining learning with the natural personality, interests and learning style of each child helps them to celebrate their own uniqueness and helps them connect with the world in ways that are meaningful to them. That is where real learning and joy begin. Using these ideas will help develop a love of learning in your children and will motivate them to find new and creative ways to increase their knowledge as they grow. - Passion for books