Instilling a Love of Reading and Books

Updated: May 10, 2021

Written by Michelle Brimhall

As a mother of 4 children and as an elementary school teacher for over 20 years, instilling a love of reading & books has been an important part of my parenting and teaching. As a mother, I read my young babies board books, as they chewed on the thick pages. With my preschoolers & young elementary-aged children, we read countless books while we snuggled together. We looked at the pictures, talked about the characters & setting, and laughed & cried over the stories. We read our favorite books over and over again. The bond and connection created while reading to and with my children provided a foundation and love of learning that has continued throughout their lives.

As our children got older and technology became a larger part of our world, it was more challenging to find engaging books that would capture our children’s attention and passion. Going to local bookstores where we could physically touch books, learn about new books from the owners of the stores, and begin to read those books while enjoying a pastry from the bookstore’s bakery helped to foster a passion of reading in our children. I am amazed at how some of our children will still pick up a good book to help them relax and unwind from the stressors of the world.

As an educator, I have seen twists and turns in the cycles to teach students to read. With the high stakes testing required by federal and state governments, a new genre of reading has emerged – state testing passages. As teachers have focused on helping their students to successfully navigate reading passages in state tests, I have seen the love of reading diminish in the majority of students’ lives. These students have been learning to read to pass a test, not for enjoyment nor to develop the love of reading.

As the educational pendulum continues to sway towards students being successful in state testing, more and more educators have begun to work diligently to get their students back to real literature - to encourage the love and passion of reading. In today’s world, it has become an easy choice for children to turn to technology for entertainment and to fill their time with its action and engagement. However, as parents and educators help shift the pendulum and help children learn the excitement and adventure of good books, more and more children will pick up a book to escape, imagine, and engage!

Michelle Brimhall is a mother of four. She has been an educator for over twenty years and has a double major BS in Early Childhood Education and Elementary Education. She has also received an MS in Literacy from SUNY of Albany.

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