9 WAYS TO ENCOURAGE READING IN YOUR HOME
Every parent knows that reading is a foundational part of their children’s education. However, some children are more interested than others. Finding 1 way to encourage reading can be hard enough, let alone 9 ways. That’s why we did it for you. Your child’s literacy begins with you. There is no one singular way to encourage your child to read; there are many. The more ways you incorporate reading into their lives, the more successful a reader they will be.
1. Start as young as possible.
Reading habits can start before your child is even born. Read aloud to them while they are in the womb and continue the routine even after they learn to read. It doesn’t matter what you read, either. Textbooks, magazine articles, newspapers – whatever, just read aloud to them.
2. Create a routine.
Speaking of routines, one of the best routines is bedtime. It’s a time of day that already has a set routine (usually) of winding down to a slower pace. Reading to your children or them reading to you is a quiet way to end the day and an excellent way to include reading in your daily schedules.
3. Replace technology with books.
Replace the television, tablets, phones, and computers with books. While we can store and read hundreds of books on one device, you don’t need a battery for a book. Ok, well, maybe one for the flashlight, but you know what we mean. You also don’t have to worry if they are talking to strangers through a book, or browsing social media, or playing a video game.
4. Get in the kitchen.
This may seem like an odd way to encourage reading, but every recipe out there requires a little reading. So crack open your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe or get creative and try something new and fun. Reading directions is a skill that never goes out of style!
5. Use reading as the answer to nearly every question.
Why is the sky blue? When is National Dog Day? Who was George Washington Carver? How do I build a go-cart? All these questions can be answered by reading. Whether we direct our children to a book or an online article, allow them to find the answer themselves. They may need a little help reading the bigger words, but over time, they will develop the skills to answer the question, “How do I pronounce quintessential?”, too.
6. Get a library card.
A library card opens us to a world of resources. New topics and authors abound in a library. History, science, journals, memoirs, technology, plays, periodicals, film, and so much more. If your 12 year old can’t find the book he’s looking for at your local library, the librarian may be able to borrow it from another library. There are no boundaries to a library.
Encouraging our children to write helps them to organize their thoughts and practice using the language they speak. They can write letters, lists, stories, in journals or record memories from family vacations. Writing effectively takes time, so giving children an early start will open many doors for them.
8. Get caught reading.
Our children look up to us. They like to emulate the things we do – at least until they reach a certain age. Until then, grasp the opportunity to set an example. Read instead of watching TV. Read outdoors or as you drift off to sleep. It doesn’t have to be a book, either. You can read the newspaper, local magazine, comic book, blog, or the mail. But whatever you do, be a reader, too. The more you read, the more opportunity there is your children will catch you in the act.
9. No book is too big.
Repeat that. No book is too big. Yes, there will be words they don’t know yet, but how else will they learn them? Maybe they only read a chapter – at first. They might come back to it as an adult, or it might challenge them to learn more now. Of course, you do want to include age-appropriate books in your library but if your six-year-old is eyeing Tolstoy, indulge her.
What other skill gives you access to learning anything you want? Reading is not only powerful; it is something no one can take away once you learn. It’s also a skill that is self-rewarding and self-challenging. When a child masters a new word, their eyes light up. We don’t need ribbons or awards to encourage our children to read. We only need to make it a part of their life.