Reading can transport children to far-off lands, introduce them to beloved characters, and entertain them for hours. It also can boost their vocabulary, increase their attention span, and set them up for academic success.
Yet many children today spend more time on a device than with a book. Here are some strategies that parents can use to cultivate a love for reading with their children.
Teachers, this is a great article to share with your class parents.
Make reading a daily habit.
Set a regular time in your child’s schedule to read, even if it’s just 5-10 minutes. It could be part of their bedtime routine during weekdays or quiet time on weekends. Read aloud to your children if they can’t yet read, or even if they can. Importantly, let your children see you read, too.
Create a special space for reading in your home.
Reading is pleasurable. Your special spot for reading should be, too. Find a place in your home that is quiet and away from TV or computers. Add a comfortable chair and a light. Include a table so that you can enjoy some tea or hot cocoa as you read. Lay a blanket on the back of the chair so you can wrap yourself in warmth. For young children, create child-sized spaces with books on low shelves or in floor bins so kids can easily reach them.
Make reading a family affair.
Schedule a family reading day. Make special book-themed snacks, read the book, and watch the movie. Incorporate books into your holiday traditions. Play reading bingo. Help your children find books on topics that interest them, or with characters to whom they can relate. Choose a fun family project that you need to research using books. Involve your children in finding the information and completing the project with you. Read the same book your child is reading so you can talk about it. You can even take turns reading aloud.
Tip for a reluctant reader: Read aloud but stop at an exciting cliffhanger. Then put the book down and walk away. Your child might just pick it up to find out what happened!
Keep track of books to read.
Make a list of the books your child wants to read. Ask friends for suggestions. Look up other books of authors your child likes. Keep a log of what your child has read with notes if you’d like. It’s fun to look at that list after a few months. You can set up a Pinterest board with the books they’ve read, too. Ask your child to set a goal for how many books he/she wants to read. When your child reaches the goal, celebrate!
Visit the library and bookstores.
Take regular trips to get more reading material. The library is a wonderful place to start, plus it’s free. Try the used bookstore, too, where you can get great bargains. Choose books that are fun and engaging and books that help children develop important skills. The most popular authors are often great storytellers.
Carry a book or ebook reader.
Reading is a great way to pass the time. Keep one (or more) books or an e-reader in your car or bag so your child can read while traveling, waiting in line at the bank, or anytime there is downtime. Keep your child’s latest read in his/her backpack so he can take advantage of downtime at school.
Start a book club.
A parent-child book club can be great fun. Make the book choice one that fosters lively discussion. Relate it to your personal lives. Ask for honest reviews of the book. Bring star stickers for the kids to use as ratings. Incorporate a fun snack that is related to the book.
Tip: Find free & low-cost books here.
Attend storytimes, author visits, and book events.
Join other book lovers to celebrate reading at fun events hosted at your local library, bookstore, or in your community. Look for local events held during National Read Across America Day on March 2.
Join an online community.
One popular site for finding book recommendations is Goodreads, but you have to be 13 or older to join. (Adults can join and search for children’s books, however.) For younger readers, try Biblionasium, a free and safe community for readers in grades K-8. The site is searchable by reading level and students may build their own virtual bookshelf. DogoBooks is a paid site that hosts the National Geographic Kids Book Club and features contests and giveaways.
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