As a child I was an avid reader, thanks mainly in part to my father. He read ALL the time, read aloud to me, and he instilled a love of reading in me. I can't thank him enough for that. I specifically remember the day he gave me his original set of Bobsey Twin books. I was reading more of a picture book on the striped chair in the living room, and he came up to me with the Bobsey Twins books. He said, "It's time for you to start reading books that don't have all those pictures in them." I was mesmerized by his Bobsey Twins books. I devoured them right away, and sought out more books to read.
My son, who is now 13, loved to be read to as a kid. In fact he still loves it. We read EVERY night. He'd pick out some books, I'd pick out some books. We probably spent 2 hours each night reading together. He learned a ton cause he loved non-fiction books even at a young age. We also read the Thomas the Tank Engine books and other age appropriate books. Even when he was in the tub, he'd play, and I'd read to him. We were constantly reading.
When he got into early elementary where most kids are expected to start reading chapter books, he had no interest in them. He'd still read the non-fiction books and still loved for me to read to him. I started getting worried that I had OVER read to him!
I didn't push him, and was thrilled that he liked to glance through magazines and still read the non-fiction and still enjoyed for me to read. I kept reading to him so he'd at least experience the chapter books he should be reading at the age he was. He loved it!
Then, just a few years ago, I caught him in his room reading a chapter book! It wasn't just any chapter book. It was the first book in the Conspiracy 365 series. He had heard all the hype about the book and wanted to check it out so he grabbed a copy out of my inventory. He quickly hid it under his pillow when I walked into his room. The next day his father caught him reading Conspiracy in the tub! From then on that boy read chapter books!
Since then he's read just about every type of series of books he can get his hands on. He starts with book one and reads every title in the series. He's read the whole Narnia series, and this summer I was amazed that he read THE WHOLE Harry Potter series - read it in only about half the summer. And guess what he's reading now. You guessed it...Moby Dick. Tears just about whell up when I think of him reading such a classic. For a child who I was so worried would never even read a Magic Tree House book, he's reading MOBY DICK!
So clearly I did something right. ALL that reading aloud to him must have instilled that love of reading. It's a wonderful gift, and I am so glad I have been able to give that to him. That, and I do believe a little serial novel helped nudge him to read chapter books independently.