Pre-Literacy: Print Motivation

Happy Valentine's Day! Let's talk about a love far more enduring than tit-for-tat romance: a love of reading!
When did you fall in love with reading? And have you fallen in love with writing, too?

I hope you've held books dear since a very young age. If a child shows interest in books, even in mouthing them, print motivation has sprouted. When they begin to enjoy being read to, flipping through books, and scribbling as if to write, they are well on their way to a love of literacy. Here are three ways to encourage print motivation:

me and Baby A
1. Make reading together quality time. I've talked about cuddling up for a read before, but any positive association with reading not only builds a bond between the readers, but between the readers and books. (Remember these adorable family reading pictures from Emily of Ruffling Feathers?)

Woman Reading by Alexander Deineke
2. Read to yourself. And write! If reading is just for kids, they'll grow out of it fast! Set the example by reading and writing in front of children. It tickles their curiosity to see how compelling and endless the joys of literacy are throughout life.

3. Point out and explain literature in daily life. There is a sign at an indoor playground near me that says Please do not let children climb on top of the dinosaur. Once (out of dozens of visits) I heard a parent say, "Get down, please. See that sign? It says we can't climb on the dinosaur." Respectful parents like that teach children to follow safety rules and pay attention to the literature in their environment. Talk about signs like the litter one above, or the address on your mailbox, or the words on your cereal box. An awareness of how society works, and also of how literacy is a tool, will sink in.

Are you doing these already? Print motivation is practically a side-effect of a literature-rich environment, don't you think? 

But like Mem Fox said to Design Mom: "Read to them endlessly, for the sake of the love between you and not the educational duty of care." 

Mem Fox did write a book on tapping in to the magic of reading. And I love her Ten Read-Aloud Commandments.

May you fall more deeply in love with literacy and those you share it with today!

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