A book lover’s dream plays itself out every year in Iceland where books are traditionally exchanged on Christmas Eve, and you spend the rest of the night reading and eating chocolate with a hot drink in hand. The event is called Jolabokaflod, otherwise know as the “Christmas book flood.”
The event dates back to the end of World War II when Iceland gained its independence from Denmark. Paper was one commodity that was not in short supply when everything else was scarce due to rationing during the war. Icelanders shared their love of reading when other gifts were hard to find. Since 1944, the Icelandic book trade has published a yearly catalog (title translated as ‘Book Bulletin’ in English) which is delivered to every household in mid-November. People use the catalog to order books to give friends and family for Christmas.
The book, “How to raise a reader,” by Pamela Paul and Mario Russo, authors of the New York Times Book Feature, shows you how to instill the joy and pleasure of taking time to read. The book is divided into four sections, from baby through teen, with useful advice on every page including ways to engage a reluctant reader.
- Reaquaint yourself with reading. You must be a reader to raise a reader.
- Read aloud everyday from any book to your newborn. The content doesn’t matter. They just need to hear your voice.
- Make reading aloud to toddlers a practice anytime throughout the day as well as at bedtime. Being read to is important for a child’s cognitive development and your shared closeness makes them identify reading as special.
- Continue to read aloud to your children even as they become more independent. Ask questions about what they are reading and ask their friends what they are reading to encourage sharing new authors.
- Introduce your child to a wide variety of fiction and non-fiction books according to their interests and to expand their knowledge. Let children read they are interested in.
- Get your child a library card and make regular visits to check out books. Take the time to sit and read together in the new children’s area at the Salem Public Library.
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