LeVar Burton Explains How to Get Your Kids to Read

THERE ARE THREE necessary levels in relation to your youngsters and studying.

All three are particular, however the final one is gut-wrenching.

The primary stage is studying round your baby. My mom was a voracious reader. She at all times had no less than two books that she was studying concurrently, and one in all them was normally a Louis L’Amour novel. Studying was a pure a part of her on a regular basis life, so it was a pure a part of ours, too.

Dad and mom ask me on a regular basis, “How do I get my child to learn extra?” And I ask them, “How usually do your youngsters see you studying?” With out modeling, there could be no curiosity.

The second stage is studying to your baby. I began studying to my daughter, Mica, when my spouse, Stephanie, was pregnant together with her. (A Prayer for Owen Meany, by John Irving—you realize, one thing gentle.) I couldn’t wait till she arrived to learn tales to her; I wished her to acknowledge my voice when she bought right here.

A Prayer for Owen Meany

A Prayer for Owen Meany

I consider that storytelling is a part of who we’re as human beings. It’s a part of our tradition as communal creatures. We share tales. And when Mica grew right into a toddler who may sit in my lap and switch the pages, that was the best act of intimacy we may share as mum or dad and baby.

I’ll inform you that within the grand scheme of issues, these lap moments are fleeting. You probably have a toddler who will sit in your lap and take heed to you as you learn them a narrative, try this with them tonight. Do that each evening. With gusto.

As a result of quickly your lap will buckle underneath their weight and also you’ll be studying shoulder to shoulder with them of their too-small-for-you mattress, which remains to be particular however in the end completely different.

Mica and her mother learn the Lemony Snicket collection that manner. I learn Mica Harry Potter till we bought to the half with the Dementors, after which she didn’t wish to learn Harry Potter anymore as a result of she was traumatized by the Dementors. (I, too, was traumatized by having uncovered her to the horror that’s the Dementors.) After which earlier than I knew it, Mica had reached the final and closing stage of studying.

The third stage is watching your baby learn with out you.

The second is bittersweet. You’ve succeeded, in any case. You’re thrilled—ecstatic—that that seed took maintain. However you’re unhappy. It’s important to mourn the lack of once they got here to you for story time.

It’s one of many first of many occasions in parenthood when you’ll stand on the sidelines and watch your baby stroll away, and also you simply must belief you’ve completed sufficient. And in the event that they’re studying, you may have.

Mica is 28 now. We speak about what we’re studying, however the days of studying round her or to her are lengthy gone. And whereas I haven’t gone again to reread any of the books she and I learn collectively when she was younger, I’ve been questioning if it’s time—simply to relive a few of these moments I shared together with her.

Possibly I’ll even choose up the Harry Potter collection once more—and see if I could make it previous the Dementors.

A model of this text initially appeared within the January/February 2023 difficulty of Men’s Health.

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Headshot of LeVar Burton


LeVar Burton stars within the closing season of Star Trek: Picard, out February 16 on Paramount+, and he’s a youngsters’s literacy advocate and hosted Studying Rainbow on PBS for 23 seasons.

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