When my mom taught kindergarten, she would send a welcome note to incoming families with the ten best things parents could do to prepare their children for learning. The first thing on the list was read to them (as was the second, third, fourth, all the way to the tenth). Success in education is dependent upon a child’s ability to read. It is the single most important skill a child can learn. Access to books in the home is a measureable school success predictor.
Help foster a love for reading in your home with the following ideas:
Create a reading corner
Creating a sacred reading space in your home will beckon your children to read. Imagine a cozy corner with a softly lit lamp and a few, large pillows or bean bag chairs. Hang some quotes about the power of reading and a bookshelf with all sorts of books. Invite your children to have private time in the reading nook or join them there for some cuddle time.
Read to your children
Begin reading to your child the moment he is born (or even before). Set aside time each day to read together and make it a family ritual. I have found that when I am reading to my younger children, my older children will make their way into the room and join us.
Read from different genres
When children struggle with reading, it may be because they haven’t found their reading passion. Poetry books, joke books, or short mysteries that require your daughter to solve a problem may appeal to her more than chapter books or early readers. If your son loves trucks, find some books about trucks and appeal to his interest.
Visit the library
Walking up and down the rows and rows of books at the library can be stimulating and exciting. Let your children wander, pull books from the shelves, and discover something they are interested in. Be sure to allow your children to sign up for their own library cards. My children love to go to the library and use their own cards. It takes a bit longer to check out, but they enjoy it.
Talk about books
Show interest in the book your child is reading or the book you are reading together. Initiate conversation about the book, and make sure you listen to their answers. Ask questions such as: What do you think is going to happen next? Were you surprised when…? Have you ever had an experience like that?
Work hard to refrain from forcing your reluctant reader to read. Work with his or her teacher on strategies for encouragement. My oldest child did not enjoy reading to himself until he was in the higher primary grades, but now I can’t get him to put the book down. Sometimes it takes awhile to grow a love for reading.
Read outside the book
Sneak in reading with games, recipes, or new toy directions. Ask your child to read the map and help navigate your way. Find websites that encourage reading but also allow your child to have some fun. Before he knows it, your son will be reading and enjoying it.
Whether you have a child who is reluctant to read or a child who won’t put his book down, it is important to display a value for reading in your home. Reading is a doorway that you can lead your child anywhere.
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you’ll go.” - Dr. Seuss