- Make a love of reading be your most important education goal for your children. Children who love to read will excel in everything they do
- Show your children that you value reading, don’t just tell them. Let them see you reading
- Make reading a daily activity
- Take outings to the bookstore
- Give books as gifts
- Always have time to read with them or help them with their reading
- Have a wide variety of books on hand, as well as newspapers, magazines and comics.
- Find books that your children are interested in
- Surprise your children with books about their favorite animal, hobby or passion
- Join the Book of the Month Club and let them receive a new book every month
- Create their own little ‘library’ in their room on their own bookshelf. Give them a sense of ownership
- Take your children o the library often while they are young and eager to go
- On special occasions, take your children to the bookstore and let them pick their favorite book
- Buy lots of cheap books at garage sales and flea markets
- Spend more time (and money) on books than on Disney movies
- Make read aloud time fun for your child
- Read whatever books your child wants to read
- Narrate the story with voices and action, get into it and have fun!
- Wrap up quickly when your child loses interest
- Let your child participate as much as possible- let her finish the sentence, read the pictures, take turns reading, etc.
- Plan play activities that involve books- picnics, crafts, science projects, kits.
- Act out favorite stories and characters from books
- Let them ‘read’ stories to their dolls or younger siblings
- Play bookstore or library
- Do projects, recipes, crafts and activities from books
- Play reading games- cross of shopping lists, put name tags around the house, play school
- Have a reading time after meals
- Be aware of how your child learns best- visual, auditory, or hands on
- Do a reading night with popcorn and blankets, instead of movie night
- Don’t do any activities that your child doesn’t enjoy. Learning should be fun!
- Don’t buy books that your child isn’t interested in and make them read them
- After your child learns to read continue to read books to them above their reading level
Elementary School to Teenagers
- Encourage reading a book series
- Continue to encourage and participate in library use
- Don’t schedule so many activities that your children don’t have time to read
- Continue to spend money on books as well as all their other activities
- Try reading plays aloud (and acting them out)
- Have a quiet, comfortable reading area in your home. Make it the most comfortable room in the house
- Fathers, spend time reading with your kids
- Keep books and magazines in the car
- Don’t make your kids turn the lights out at night, let them stay up and read!
- Only own one television, and never put it in your children’s room
- Cancel your cable subscription and buy books instead
- Don’t force them to read something they don’t like
- Send teenagers to the bookstore with money to buy any book they like
- Allow them to choose their own books from the Book of the Month Club
- Read a book together at the same time and discuss it
- Encourage them to write and share what they read about. Do ‘book reports’
- Keep perspective. Reading should be the number one educational goal, but not the only goal
- “It is impossible to sit down to write if you have not stood up to live”- Emerson
Research shows that the most criticial aspect to whether a child reads or not, and continues the habit into adulthood, is how the feel about reading. If they have negative associations with it, they will avoid it, and likely stop doing it once it is not ‘required.’
On the other hand, if they associate reading with being enjoyable and fun, they will be more likely to do it on their own and continue the habit throughout their life. Parents play a major role in fostering a child’s feelings toward reading. They can create positive associations by providing the right opportunities for reading and by generating fond memories and feelings of reading together as a family or as parent and child.
However, forcing a child to read can have the opposite effect. Reading should be a choice. It can be encourage though with the following ideas.
1. Provide a family reading time. This can be spent reading aloud, or individually. It could be after dinner, or any other meal, but it should be reserved for nothing else but reading. Even if a child is not interested, with consitence, they will most likely grow accustomed to the practice and begin to enjoy it.
2. Subscribe to magazines that are of interest to the child. Allow the child to pursue their own interests is one way to encourage reading. Don’t try and force them to read what you think they should read, but allow them to make their own choices based on what interests them. They’ll enjoy the reading much more, ensuring that they’ll want to continue the habit.
3. Provide a book allowance that allows them to buy one new book a week or month.
4. Create a place in the child’s room that is comfortable for reading, and where they can keep their own books.
5. Model reading by letting your children see you reading books everyday, on your own time.
6. Schedule regular family visits to the library. It’s helpful for children to learn the abundance of information that is available on any topic that might interest them.
7. Give books as gifts or rewards instead of implying that their too ‘boring’ to receive as a present.
8. Order a book in the mail every month. The anticipation of receiving something addressed to them, and the excitement for wanting to read it as soon as it arrives, helps to develop those positive associations with books.
9. Take family hikes, picnics or other outings and bring along books that you can read while your out.
10. Help your children learn where to find books and information on the topics that interest them. Let them know that they can find a book on (nearly) any topic. Reading what interests them is how the love of reading is ingrained.
11. Attend book sales and fairs and let them choose their own books.
12. Display books in prominent places in the home. Let your children know books are important (how about having a book shelf replace your T.V. entertainment center?)
13. Allow your child to put his or her name in their book. A sense of ownership is important. You might even have labels created that they can place in the book.
14. Allow special privileges for reading, like being able to stay up later with a flashlight if they are reading a book.
15. Have ‘book nights’ instead of movie nights. Make popcorn, dim the lights, and everyone cuddle up with a book and a blanket.
Do you have any great ideas that you use to encourage reading? We’d love to hear from you. Please leave a comment