Flashlight Readers: Inspiring Your Kids to Love Books With Anna Krafve Pierce


Inspiring Flashlight Readers  CathyKrafve.com
I confess. My family loves flashlight readers. We sneak flashlights to bed often. Maybe, like us, stories excite your imagination even more than chocolate! Are you a flashlight reader, too?

My own mom, Ann Primer, caught us at every naughty moment growing up. Yet, somehow, she never caught any flashlight readers. She, too, was a self-confessed flashlight reader. 

(Pictured above: One of our beloved grands cuddles up with a good book in her "library tent" during a recent power outage.)

Do you want your kids to love books so much they sneak their flashlights into bed under the covers? Sweet Anna Krafve Pierce, joined me on Fireside Talk Radio recently to give us some great ideas for inspiring flashlight readers in the next generation. 

Nurturing a Lifelong Love of Books

Anna went from the slowest reader in her first grade class to the kid who wanted to read and write all about Shakespeare’s plays by 6th grade. Listen in on our relaxed, honest conversation about parenting—two totally different points of view--mine and my daughter’s.

In this no-holds-barred conversation, Anna shares a bunch. An educator, mom, avid reader, and creative soul, you'll love her perspective. If you wonder whether we ever disagree, um, yes we do. (All my kids’ are independent thinkers!) You can also click here for more interviews.

Inspiring Your Own Flashlight Readers

In order to inspire the flashlight readers at your house, Anna suggests starting today, even if they’re not reading yet. (For more on nurturing confident girls, click here.) She offered the following quick tips on creating a book-friendly mindset.

#1 Well-traveled Books

No matter where Anna travels, she and her hubby find a used book store and buy their kids books as souvenirs. 

“For two dollars I can bring them a souvenir that’s not a key chain,” she laughs. “Last time we went on a trip, I found an oversized teacher’s book, you know the kind you read upside down to the class. It’s huge.” 

Is a book worthy of your child? Pick books your children will want to read to their stuffed animals, Anna suggests.

#2 Make Reading a Fun, Team Sport

Different children learn in different styles, even in the same family. (For more on how strong-willed children grow up to be dynamic adults, check out the interview we did with Cynthia Ulrich Tobias.) 

Don’t forget to appeal to auditory learning styles, says Anna. Hearing stories can inspire flashlight readers as the suspense hooks their imagination.

“We always liked it when you read best because you used voices,” Anna reminded me on our show, “I loved Brian Jacques’s Redwall series because all the creatures. He wrote those out where you can hear all the accents and voices.”

We spent many happy hours passing books around to each other, taking turns reading in front of the fireplace on cloud January and February afternoons.

“I loved it when we read those out loud. I was never very good at the voices. Then, Ellen, my sister got to be as good or better than you,” Anna told me. (Ellen, if you’re reading this, Anna tells listeners why we read Pollyanna. Click the above podcast to hear more or click here to find more Fireside Talk Radio podcasts.)

#3 Reading Out Loud 

Oh my gosh, I’ve done everything else today and now I have to read out loud. Really? Okay, okay. We feel your pain. Many people don’t like to read out loud because it's hard work. 

“You would trade us. At first, you said ‘if you’ll read this one paragraph’ and then you’d read two pages to keep the book moving,” recalls Anna. 

Pretty soon we were passing thick books around trading chapters. Before long, I just listened in as the kids traded chapters while I folded laundry.

#4 Reading, Writing, and Acting Together

Play acting is another way to spark your child's literary imagination. As a family, we like the way storytelling brings us together. Often we connect with others through sharing treasured family stories. If you can get your child on his feet acting, family stories come to life.

“We had to do a book report about one of the Greek tragedies. You told us we could either write a book report or say all the lines, in togas. In public,” laughs Anna. Barns and Nobles will never be the same!  (For many more ideas from Whitney Patterson about creating a childhood filled with wonder,  click here.)

#5 Radios, Reading, and, Yes, Our Family Loves Podcasts

Anna remembers the rule I enforced with vigor: "No T.V. until Dad gets home!" Instead, when we needed a diversion, we listened to tapes, like the Adventures in Odyssey series. (Find the Adventures in Odyssey podcasts here.We also listened to dramatized versions of old radio shows, like Agatha Christie and the Green Hornet. In fact, many of the shows from the 1930s and 40s were based on literature.

Teaching your kids to love stories, inevitably helps them appreciate all forms of literature. Story writing is another way to get your child engaged in books.  (For how to encourage the writing gift in your child, click here.)

#6 Choose and Treasure Your Favorite Books

Nowadays inspiring flashlight readers at your house is easy-smeasy with many ways to enjoy stories. I asked Anna for her favorite book.

“My favorite book is the Bible,” she answered without hesitation. “The way you visualize and imagine and relate to it—and know the truth—is part of the purpose for the imagination God gave us.” 

We believe God equips us with imagination so we develop compassion and empathy for others.

Most importantly, imagination is a huge component of faith, according to Anna because “you have to be able to imagine that God loves you.”

May we pray together?

Father, in a miracle beyond imagination, you inspired generations of people to record your stories. We read the Bible now and marvel at your goodness. Surely, if you love both the written and spoken word so much, we can treasure it with joy, too! We thank you, O Lord, that your spoken word has creative power. Teach us to guard our hearts today so the words we speak and write reflect your goodness and glory. In Jesus’s name. Amen.

We LOVE to hear from you!

What is your favorite book ever? Which books do you delight in sharing with your kids? When have you marveled at another person’s ability to inspire young people to love books?

Cathy Krafve, Columnist, Speaker, Blogger, Podcaster, and Christian Writer, invites your stories, ideas, and questions at CathyKrafve.com. Truth with a Texas Twang.

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